The new guidelines to unlock film theatres bring relief to the industry facing multiple setbacks during the pandemic. Producers Anand Pandit and Siddharth Anand Kumar weigh in on the government’s decision to allow multiplexes with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines for re-opening cinemas, theatres, multiplexes with up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity. These guidelines are applicable to areas outside containment zones from October 15.
This news has been welcomed by the film industry with a collective sigh of relief. The COVID-19 ramifications initially brought the industry to a complete halt. Films ready for release were streamed on OTT platforms and big-screen entertainment seemed like a distant dream.
Many production houses now are beginning to come to terms with the new normal. Film shoots and post-production schedules have resumed again though in compliance with safety protocols. Now the prospect of audiences returning to the theatres though with social distancing norms in place has cheered the film fraternity even more.
Producer Anand Pandit whose latest film The Big Bull is almost complete, says, “I welcome the news of cinema halls opening to 50 per cent occupancy wholeheartedly. It is a strong step in the right direction. I have always maintained that there is no substitute for the theatrical experience.”
“Together with similar steps, we can propel a strong recovery of the film industry. If there is one thing the film industry has, it is resilience and we will overcome the challenges with unity and looking out for each other,” Anand Pandit continues.
Anand Pandit adds, “At the same time, it is very critical that we respect the safety protocols this pandemic has imposed upon us so that every person who steps in a theatre feels safe. Whether it is frequent sanitisation or the absolute necessity for masks, we must ensure as responsible stakeholders to not take any chances so that there is no need to go back to a complete lockdown again.”
Siddharth Anand Kumar, Vice President – Films & Events at Saregama India Ltd says, “We welcome the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow cinema halls to reopen across the country with a 50 per cent seating capacity from October 15th. The film industry has seen extremely challenging times as has every sector of the economy. I am quite sure this would translate into a surge of optimism for the millions of people associated directly and indirectly with the industry. It is time to adapt and move forward and accept the new normal. Together we have to fight this.”