The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a new Government Order (GO) instructing the Tamil Nadu Government to revoke the 100% occupancy Order in theatres, cinema halls and multiplexes in the state and go back to allow only 50% capacity in line with their guidelines. Ajay Bhalla, Home Secretary of India, in his order stated, "The Government of Tamil Nadu (GoTN) vide their Notification No G.O. (MO) No 001 dated 04.01.2021 has permitted to increase the seating capacity of cinema, theatre, multiplexes from existing 50% capacity to 100% by following the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). This amounts to dilution of MHA Order dated 28th December, 2020 issued under the DM Act, 2005."

The Home Secretary in his latest order to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Shanmugam further stated, "I would also like to draw your kind attention to pant 21 & 23 of these guidelines which state that the State/UT Governments shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the 13M Act. 2005 in any manner and shall strictly enforce the same." Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla also wrote saying, "In view of the above, GoTN is requested to immediately issue necessary Order to bring their Guidelines in line with the MHA guidelines dated 28th December, 2020 and inform compliance to this Ministry."

The Tamil Nadu government granted permission to the Tamil Nadu Theatre And Multiplex Owners Association on Monday for 100% occupancy in cinema halls and multiplexes across the state ahead of the two big Tamil releases this Pongal - 'Thalapathy' Vijay's Master and Silambarasan TR's Eeswaran. Both Master and Eeswaran are carrying tremendous expectations as they feature top superstars, with a huge business riding on them. 

Theatres in Tamil Nadu reopened with 50% occupancy in November for Diwali with Santhanam's Biskoth and the adult horror comedy Irandam Kuththu being the first films to be shown on the big screen after the nationwide lockdown was enforced in March last year. It remains to be seen the State government's response for the Centre's latest orders as Vijay's Master is hitting theatres in a week's time, with promotions being carried out in an active manner. Below is the MHA's latest Order: