The Indian Government ordered the cinema theatres to be closed in the third week of March due to the global pandemic. Since then, the theatres have been shut down and it is one of the industries that have been badly affected by the pandemic. It has been close to 200 days since the theatres closed and the theatre exhibitors have been requesting the Government to allow them to reopen with minimal occupancy. In Chennai, some of the iconic single screen theatres like AVM Rajeshwari, Maharani and Agasthya have been completely shut down due to non revenue and other losses. Following a long wait, it has now been officially announced that the theatres in West Bengal will reopen from October 1 with very minimal crowd.

West Bengal’s Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “To return to normalcy, Jatras, Plays, OATs, Cinemas & all musical, dance, recital & magic shows shall be allowed to function with 50 participants or less from 1 Oct, subject to adherence to physical distancing norms, wearing of masks & compliance to precautionary protocols.”, thereby confirming the reopening of cinema theatres from October 1. As she has mentioned in the tweet, it has been strictly advised that one screen should have not more than 50 participants for a show.

This decision from Mamata Banerjee has been well received by the theatre owners in the State and the exhibitors of other states are eagerly looking forward to the announcement from their respective State Governments. West Bengal has become the first Indian state to announce the reopening of theatres in a minimal scale and we will have to wait for a few more days to know the status in other states. Theatre owners in Chennai are expecting a positive response from Tamil Nadu Government and are hoping that the theatres can open from the first week of October, but an official confirmation is awaited.

Depending on the reopening of theatres, producers of upcoming films will decide their release plans. We have been witnessing a lot of notable biggies skipping the theatrical release and going for a direct OTT release due to the pandemic situation and let us hope that the theatre business gets back on track very soon. Check out Mamata Banerjee’s tweet below: