Several Bollywood producers, actors along with the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) on Sunday urged the Centre to open cinema halls which have remained shut amid the coronavirus pandemic. The country went into lockdown from March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
The government started unlocking in phase-wise manner from June with opening up of domestic travel, offices, markets, shopping complexes, etc in non-containment zones
Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, under the government's Unlock 4 guidelines, cinema chains have not been given permission to operate.
The official account of Multiplex Association of India tweeted-under the hashtag "Support Movie Theatres"-that the cinema industry is not only an inherent part of the country's culture, but also an integral part of the economy, "supporting millions of livelihoods."
"Most countries across the world have allowed cinemas to operate. We request the Government Of India to allow us to operate as well. We are committed to offering a safe and hygienic cinema experience.
"If aviation, metro, malls, wellness and restaurants can be allowed to operate, the cinema industry too deserves a chance," the association wrote.
MAI had last month submitted a set of SOPs to various Central ministries as well as Prime Minister's Office and Niti Aayog.
Producer Boney Kapoor, whose film "Maidaan" had to be stalled amid the pandemic, took to Twitter and wrote,"#SupportMovieTheatres #SaveCinemas."
He was joined by colleagues from the industry, including actor Parvin Dabas, "Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota" actor Abhimanyu Dassani and Shibasish Sarkar, Group Chief Executive Officer- Content, Digital and Gaming at Reliance Entertainment.
Dabas said cinema halls contribute majorly to the economy and it was important to reopen them.
"We need to get the economy going. Movie halls are a big part of that, they are committed to giving a safe environment to the film goers. Let's open them before it's too late," he wrote.
Abhimanyu, whose film "Nikamma" was scheduled to release this year, said efforts should be made to to open theatres.
"Let's make it safe enough for the public. Please reopen theatres and bring that magic back to life," the actor tweeted.
Reliance Entertainment's two upcoming releases, "Sooryavanshi" and "83", stand delayed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sarkar said the pandemic has deeply affected those who worked at cinema halls.
"Salary Subsidy Scheme in UK, CARES Act 2020 in US, Canada Emergency Wage Service in Canada, govt supported to protect jobs. In India thousands and millions have lost jobs or pay cuts with no income of cinema hall owners. Halls are now closed for 6 months. #SupportMovieTheatres," he tweeted.
According to MAI, the multiplex industry in India employs over 2,00,000 people who are the backbone of the Indian film industry as they account nearly 60 per cent of revenues of film business.