MAI urges government to reopen cinemas in non-containment zones
Multiplex Association of India feels dismayed that cinemas and multiplexes continue to remain in the list of prohibited activities under the Central Government’s Unlock 2.0 Guidelines.
At a time when a significant part of the economy is being opened up, including domestic travel, offices, high street, markets, shopping complexes, etc., the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) feels dismayed that cinemas and multiplexes continue to remain in the list of prohibited activities under the Central Government’s Unlock 2.0 Guidelines.
The Association finds it highly demotivating and disheartening when in fact, Cinemas and Multiplexes can become an example of how social distancing guidelines and crowd control can be best exercised in a safe and planned manner. As compared to the unorganised retail and shops that have been opened up, multiplexes and cinema are part of the organised sector, playing hosts to ‘revenue paying’ customers only and hence, in a better position to limit crowds unlike marketplaces and deploy all the mechanisms and guidelines for crowd control and social distancing.
The multiplex industry in India employs more than 200,000 people directly. It is the backbone of the Indian Film Industry accounting nearly 60% of revenues of film business. The livelihoods of more than a million people – right from the spot boys to makeup artists, musicians, designers, technicians and engineers to cinema employees to directors and actors – hinges on the survival of Indian cinema. The lockdown has literally brought the entire industry to a standstill with losses mounting every passing day.
An early decision to allow cinemas to open up will only help the mobilization of resources in the film industry’s ecosystem and would lead to gradual resurrection. In fact even after opening up, we anticipate atleast 3-6 months before things return anywhere close to normal. On one hand where programming of new content will take some time to kick in; movie buffs on the other hand are expected to take a cautious approach before returning to cinemas.
Globally, countries like France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, Hong Kong, UAE, US, etc. and more recently Belgium and Malaysia have opened cinemas to the public with implementation of the highest degree of safety protocols and have seen a warm response by audiences. In effect, more than 20 major cinema markets around the world have started operating. MAI is of the firm belief that, there must be a start and the unlocking of cinemas in non-containment zones across India should be done post haste – there must be a beginning and an opportunity must be given to us, just like some of the other sectors.
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