The bigger picture: As #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs trends, celebrities urge authorities to consider re-opening of cinema halls

The bigger picture:  As #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs trends, celebrities urge authorities to consider re-opening of cinema halls

Mona

Dreams come to life at movies on the big screen. There are millions behind the screen who make that happen. Jobs are at stake. Can’t wait for cinemas to reopen... trended on Twitter on Tuesday, along with #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs. Actor Manoj Bajpayee, director Anurag Kashyap and critic Taran Adarsh took to social media to make some noise for cinemas, which have remained closed since March due to Covid-19.

The Multiplex Association of India also released a statement, which was shared by cinema hall owners and film distributors. It read: “Due to the lockdown, the industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation; it was the first sector to be shut down and will be the last to reopen. In the recently announced ‘unlock 4’, bars and metro services have also been permitted to reopen. Cinemas are equipped with better abilities to ensure crowd management in stringent hygienic environments while maintaining applicable social distancing norms.”

In total support

“#UnlockCinemaSaveJobs… An entire industry and its technicians and employees are suffering. This too needs to be addressed,” posted Bengali actress Rukmini Maitra. While Dharma Productions tweeted, “The grandeur of experiencing a story on a large screen is unmatched. Not to forget, thousands of jobs are at stake.”

“It has been long… Each and every business is almost open, but our cinemas are closed... Requesting the Central Government to unlock cinemas, exhibitors will take all necessary precautions,” tweeted trade analyst Rohitt Jaiswal.

Many countries, including USA, UK, France, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and UAE, have re-opened cinemas, but India is yet to make the move. While some films have taken the OTT route, makers of the much-awaited 83 and Sooryavanshi are waiting for cinema halls to re-open.

83

Waiting game

“Unlike gyms or restaurants, cinemas will open at one go in the entire country. Now given that in some states the situation is tense, there has been a delay,” explains Munish Sahni, Managing Director, Omjee Group. “Cinemas must open, but we can only try to convince the government. Exhibitors have already formulated plans for safety. We are hopeful that cinemas will open in the first week of October. We will, however, wait for a few weeks to know the public mood,” he adds.

Punjabi turf

Meanwhile, Chal Mera Putt 2, which was released right before the lockdown, was re-released in Dubai. “As cinemas opened there, we re-released Chal Mera Putt 2 on Eid weekend; it got a decent response,” says Raj Juneja, a representative for distributors in Punjab. “Now that everything is open, even metro, makes sense that cinema halls should get relief too. They have been incurring expenses, but not earning at all. If cinema halls open, some films like Chal Mera Putt 2, Posti and Ikko Mikke, can warm up the scene. By November, one can expect releases by big banners. As for the audience, people are missing cinema,” he adds.

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