The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has appealed to the Centre to allow cinema halls to reopen. According to the cinema body, the movie exhibition sector has lost an estimated Rs 9,000 crore in the last six months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The MAI added the sector directly employs two lakh people and provides employment to lakhs indirectly.
The association which represents all multiplex chains in the country, including PVR, INOX, and Cinepolis said they have suffered a lot financially and are now staring at job losses. According to MAI, close to 10,000 cinema screens had been shut for roughly six months across the country.
Several actors from the Hindi film industry have also come forward, urging the government to allow theatres to reopen. With the hashtag #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs, Bollywood stars, people from the industry have made an appeal to the Centre.
Actor Manoj Bajpayee showed his support to the MAI and wrote on Twitter, "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!".
#UnlockCinemaSaveJobs— manoj bajpayee (@BajpayeeManoj) September 15, 2020
- 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! pic.twitter.com/e8mbQUoODc
Director Anurag Kashyap, film critic Taran Adarsh, Dharam Production, and several others from the Hindi film industry also backed the MAI's appeal on Twitter.
In an appeal, the film industry has said that everything has opened in the country as part of Unlock 4. Malls, airlines, gyms, metro, bars, restaurants, and other services are opened in the country. According to the multiplex association, they will follow the government's protocol once they get a nod to resume services.
PVR Pictures, the biggest cinema chain in India, tweeted the appeal with a message on the joy of watching movies in theatres: "The joy of watching stories unfold on the big screen: the clapping, laughing and tears. We miss it. Can't wait to have you back at the movies! #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs," the chain captioned the appeal.
"Millions work behind the scenes to make dreams come to life on the big screen. Their jobs are at stake. Please reopen cinemas immediately," INOX Leisure Ltd said while sharing the appeal.
The film industry has listed a few pointers ensuring that cinema halls will be safe for the public, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Assigning a top-most priority to the health and well-being of our guests and employees, we have developed and are ready to implement a safety plan with the most stringent SOPs to ensure a safe, secure and hygienic cinema viewing experience for movie lovers of our country," the film industry said in its appeal.
More than 84 countries, including China, Korea, UK, France, Italy, Spain, UAE, and the US, have already opened cinemas to the public while maintaining the highest degree of safety protocols and have seen encouraging response, it said.
The association, which in July introduced several SOPs (standard operating procedures) such as paperless tickets, seat distancing, staggered intervals, regulated entry, and exit and regular sanitisation to make cinemas a safe place to visit, reiterated that it is equipped with better abilities to ensure crowd management in "stringent hygienic environments while maintaining applicable social distancing norms".