Breaking decision by Multiplex association to open theatres in India
The Corona Virus Pandemic has turned everybody's lives upside-down and there seems to be no returning to normalcy, anytime soon. All industries have been affected in some way or the other but one of the most affected industries is the entertainment field, especially theatre industry. It is been over 100 days since all the theatres across the country were asked to shut. Even when all the other industries have been given permission to resume work, theatre industry alone has not been allowed to screen movies. Though theatres have all been shut, all theatres owners have been incurring a loss of around 10 lakhs per month which includes wages for staffs and their maintenance. Some of the theatres across the country have already closed business while some theatre owners still playing the waiting game on when to shut shop. Now the multiplex association of India have taken a step to request the government to open theatres. In their statement, they claim that multiplex is an organized work sector which follows all the guidelines in general. They claim that they can limit the crowds unlike marketplaces and other unorganized sectors which are allowed to work.
“At a time when a significant part of the economy is being opened up, including domestic travel, offices, high street, markets, shopping complexes, etc., the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) feels dismayed that cinemas and multiplexes continue to remain in the list of prohibited activities under the Central Government's Unlock 2.0 Guidelines. The Association finds it highly demotivating and disheartening when in fact, Cinemas and Multiplexes can become an example of how social distancing guidelines and crowd control can be best exercised in a safe and planned manner. As compared to the unorganised retail and shops that have been opened up, multiplexes and cinema are part of the organised sector, playing hosts to 'revenue paying' customers only and hence, in a better position to limit crowds unlike marketplaces and deploy all the mechanisms and guidelines for crowd control and social distancing. The multiplex industry in India employs more than 200,000 people directly.
We are the backbone of the Indian Film Industry accounting nearly 60% of revenues of the film business. The livelihoods of more than a million people — right from the spot boys to makeup artists, musicians, designers, technicians and engineers to cinema employees to directors and actors — hinges on the survival of Indian cinema. The lockdown has literally brought the entire industry to a standstill with losses mounting every passing day. An early decision to allow cinemas to open up will only help the mobilization of resources in the film industry's ecosystem and would lead to gradual resurrection. In fact even after opening up, we anticipate at least 3-6 months before things return anywhere close to normal. On one hand where programming of new content will take some time to kick in; movie buffs, on the other hand, are expected to take a cautious approach before returning to cinemas. These are real challenges that the industry will have to overcome and we believe together, with the support of the government, we will be able to overcome them.
Globally, countries like France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Hong Kong, UAE, US, etc. and more recently Belgium and Malaysia have opened cinemas to the public with the implementation of the highest degree of safety protocols and have seen a warm response by audiences. In effect, more than 20 major cinema markets around the world have started operating. MAI is of the firm belief that there must be a start and the unlocking of cinemas in non-containment zones across India should be done post haste — there must be a beginning and an opportunity must be given to us, just like some of the other sectors.”
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