Cinemas in State set to open on Monday

Movie projection in progress, as part of routine maintenance, at the Priyadharsini cinema theatre in Palakkad on Friday ahead of the cinemas across the State reopening on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Mustafah K.K.

Cinemas in the State are set to reopen next Monday, with film bodies expressing satisfaction after a meeting with Minister for Culture Saji Cherian on Friday.

In addition to their earlier demands, the film bodies have now put forward three more demands including 100% occupancy in all the theatres to enable them decent returns after reopening.

According to K. Vijayakumar, President of the Film Exhibitors United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK), who participated in the meeting, Mr. Cherian said that most of the demands being raised by the film bodies were justified in the current circumstances. He would present their demands to the Chief Minister, and also consult with the other Ministers before taking a final decision.

“The Minister said that the Government would do everything possible to meet our demands. We are satisfied with the meeting outcome,” said Mr.Vijayakumar.

Vaccine norms

The first among the three new demands put forward by the film bodies is related to the relaxation of vaccination norms. At present, only those who have got two doses of vaccines will be allowed into theatres.

The organisations want this to be reduced to a single dose as only around 30% people have got both doses and the youth who are the majority of the viewers have only got one dose.

The film organisations also want the current limit of occupancy at 50% to be increased to 100%. They point at the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where theatres will be having 100% occupancy from next month onwards.

One of the major arguments put forward by them was that producers of big releases would be reluctant to release with 50% occupancy, which would also affect the collections.

Service charge

The third demand is for the levying of ₹5 service charge on each of the tickets sold, to enable the exhibitors to cover the expenses of running theatres as per the COVID-19 protocol.

“To run the theatres as per the protocols, we need to ensure that each seat is sanitised and cleaned after the show. The entire theatre has to be sanitised several times during the day, for which more staff have to be deployed, which will lead to an increase in expenses,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

The organisations also repeated their earlier demands, including the withdrawal of the entertainment tax, which was announced by the Government to compensate the local bodies for the losses incurred after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.

The State Government had in January decided to waive entertainment tax from January to March.

They have also asked the Government for a complete waiver of fixed electricity charges from March 2020 to December 2021, as the theatres were running on low occupancy even during the short period before the second wave in which they were allowed to function.

Representatives of the FEUOK, Kerala Film Chamber, Producer's Association, Distributor's Association and other film bodies participated in the meeting.

In for release

The films lined up for release next week include No Time to Die, the latest one in the James Bond series, Venom 2 and Tamil film Doctor.

The exhibitors are looking forward to the release of Rajinikanth film Annaatthe on November 4, which will have a wide release across several centres in each city. The first big Malayalam release will be Dulquer Salman's Kurup on November 12.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 5:52:49 PM |

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