Black Diwali for theater owners; The Maharashtra government is extending the lockdown to November 30


On Thursday, the Maharashtra government extended the lockdown in the state to November 30 without further easing. For exhibitors in the state who have lost millions of rupees in the eight months the theater was closed, the move is a disaster as Diwali is the most profitable period for businesses. Manoj Desai, Executive Director of G7 Plywood in Bandra, says, “Our business is skyrocketing during this time, but it’s a black Diwali this year. [On paper], I have eight theaters, but in reality we are broke. “

Akshaye Rathi, who owns cinemas in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, notes that the exhibition and distribution sector had earned R250 crore last Diwali thanks to the three festival releases – Housefull 4, Saand Ki AANh and Made in China. With another gloomy month ahead of him this year, he has no choice but to let go of his staff. Rathi points out that the discrimination against cinemas is unfair and asks, “Are cinemas the only place where the virus spreads? Everything else has reopened – be it subways, salons and even trains.”

Indoo Ki Jawani and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari watched a theatrical run
Indoo Ki Jawani and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari watched a theatrical run

With the optimistic trade and filmmakers that the doors to cinemas would be thrown open from November 1, it was learned that Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari – in addition to the digital premiere – would hit the screens during Diwali weekend. Likewise, Kiara Advani’s Indoo Ki Jawani was released in late November. As the fate of these two films is at stake, Rathi adds: “The trailer for Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari does not mention anything about the movie coming out in theaters. [clarity]. “

The decision will no doubt spark a chain reaction across the country – as Maharashtra is the largest market, other filmmakers are likely to delay the release of their upcoming offering, depriving theater owners in other states of new releases. Raj Kumar Mehrotra, CEO of Delite Cinemas, Delhi, which restarted operations on October 16, says each show barely occupies 10 percent. “We are at a loss. Where the capacity of 50 percent translates to 490 seats in our cinema, we only see 30 to 40 people per show. At the weekend the number of visitors rises to 15 percent.”

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Gurmeet Singh Seble of Seble Cinema, Delhi, is urging the Multiplex Association of India to reconsider its decision not to screen OTT films. “It will work wonders for us if we can screen Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii. Nobody wants to watch previous blockbusters. We need new movies.”

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