Appealing to the Maharashtra government to not implement a lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Thursday wrote a letter to the office of the chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray. The organisations have said that a fresh lockdown, even if it is partial, is going to negatively impact the cinema business, and also suggested recommendations for smooth operations of cinemas.
The cinema body, which represents all the multiplex chains, including, PVR, INOX and Cinepolis, said, “While we appreciate the efforts by the authorities to control the spread of Covid and are ready to support the Government and the District Administration to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic, we believe that the lockdowns (if implemented) are going to negatively impact the cinema, retail and shopping industry. Such measures that curtail smooth operations will not only deter genuine movie-goers and shoppers, who have slowly returned to cinemas and shopping centers, from visiting cinemas and malls, but also put into motion a downward spiraling effect on cinema industry and modern retail that could derail recovery of these segments.”
“A number of livelihoods are dependent on the cinema industry which after a long wait is on its path to recovery. Strict protocols and adherance to SOP’s should be a solution rather than a second lockdown ” says @kamalgianc
President MAI@AUThackeray @CMOMaharashtra @mybmc https://t.co/AGTivOYp30
— Multiplex Association Of India (@MAofIndia) March 31, 2021
The letter further states how the cinema closure ordered by the Maharashtra Government last year in March, followed by closures in other states across the country, have already brought the industry to an unprecedented situation. The film body stated, “With Zero revenues in 8 months (13 March 2020 till 9 November 2020), and thereafter meagre revenues in the last 5 months (9 November 2020 till 31 March 2021), the cinema exhibition industry is now facing possible bankruptcies. Films are the soft power of Maharashtra and cinemas continue to be the main form of entertainment for our masses. The cinema exhibition sector is a critical part of a functioning film industry, directly employing lakhs of people and contributing to indirect employment of millions of people.”
— Kamal Gianchandani (@kamalgianc) March 31, 2021
Since the speculations on a second lockdown in the state are rife, many filmmakers and production houses have already announced postponement of the release of their films. Films like Chehre, Bunty Aur Babli 2 and The Black Widow, that were scheduled to release in April, are now delayed.
“An imposition of a second lockdown in Maharashtra will lead to all Hindi films (and many other films in other languages) being postponed, this will create an extremely adverse and hostile situation for cinemas across the nation. To summarise this point, a second lockdown will be extremely detrimental and would lead to severe and irreversible consequences for cinema exhibition sector,” the letter further reads.
MAI concluded the letter, signed by the association’s president Kamal Gianchandani, by appealing to the state authority to continue operating as per regular functioning to not avoid cinema business to suffer like last year. The letter reads, “Given the dire economic and financial impact of the epidemic on our sector, we would sincerely urge that Maharashtra Government to allow the Cinemas/ Shopping Centres/ Malls to continue operating as per regular functioning and let the customers experience a controlled and safe movie-going and shopping experience. We also urge you to allow cinemas & malls to operate as per regular operational hours. This will also ensure that footfalls are dispersed and operations run smoothly.”