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Bengaluru: Exhibitors unsure of business, content to be screened
With just a few days remaining for the cinema halls across the country to open, the Union government on Tuesday issued guidelines for the reopening of movie theatres in the country, which have been allowed to open at 50% capacity from October 15
Bengaluru: With just a few days remaining for the cinema halls across the country to open, the Union government on Tuesday issued guidelines for the reopening of movie theatres in the country, which have been allowed to open at 50% capacity from October 15With just a few days remaining for the cinema halls across the country to open, the Union government on Tuesday issued guidelines for the reopening of movie theatres in the country, which have been allowed to open at 50% capacity from October 15. But theatre owners are in a confused mindset as there is no proper content to present. However, Sandalwood has planned to take necessary action to safeguard their big-budget movies and will postpone their release.
"The entire film industry was waiting for these guidelines and it has come out as our expectation. As several movie producers are hesitant to release their films, it would not be viable for the exhibitors to open theatres. As per my knowledge, no producers will come forward to release their films, the Film Chamber has received only requests from the filmmakers whose flicks were released before lockdown to re-release now," says Umesh Banakar, the vice-president of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC).
It has been said that face masks will be mandatory inside the cinema halls and while watching the movie, and alternate seats will be left vacant for physical distancing. Seats that are not to be occupied shall be marked as such. The Union Minister also announced that minute-long films or announcements on wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene will be shown before a show, before and after the interval to spread awareness among people about Covid-19.
"Also, many exhibitors demand to continue with the shutdown rather than to operate with 50 per cent audience. Also, exhibitors in Bengaluru feel that opening theatres is not an easy task in this situation because of no proper content to present as some States are observing lockdown and there will be no film in other languages as well. I feel, it takes some time to get normal for the public to enter the cinema hall," Umesh Banakar added. The sources claim that the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) has welcomed the new guidelines. According to the guidelines, the movie shows will have a staggered timetable for different screens and the audience shall be encouraged to avoid movement during the intermission as well. Thermal screening will be carried out and only asymptomatic individuals shall be allowed to enter the theatre.
The Union government has said that there should be ample provision for washing hands and hand sanitisers should be placed across the theatres. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the box office, and other areas will be carried out. For single screen theatres, more counters at the box office shall be opened for purchase of tickets and digital modes of payments will be encouraged for tickets.
"It is good that purchase of tickets at the box office will be open throughout the day and advance booking will be allowed to avoid crowding. It will be helpful for us in rural areas where we don't have the online booking facility. But only this is for 50 percent audience, which is a risky move for the producers. We are allowed to open after six months, but a 50 percent audience will definitely make producers step back. So finally, we don't have new content and are forced to go for re-release of old films as testing," says a theatre owner from Bengaluru rural.
Proper floor markers shall be used for physical distancing for queue management at box office. Air circulation within the theatre shall be ensured and the temperature setting of all air conditioning should be in the range of 24-30°C. Cross ventilation shall also be ensured. The use of Arogya Setu App shall be advised to all and spitting shall be strictly prohibited on the premises. At the food counters, only packaged food and beverages shall be allowed and no delivery of food will be allowed inside the movie hall. There will be multiple sales counters for food and beverage to ensure physical distancing.
Measures will be ensured for the safety of sanitation staff and they will be provided with adequate provisions like gloves, boots, masks, PPE, etc.