Single-screen theatre owners urge Bengal government to allow 100 per cent occupancy

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Single-screen owners in West Bengal on Tuesday urged the state government to allow 100 per cent occupancy in theatres, up from the present 50 per cent, citing poor field workplace returns as the rationale.

Owner of a distinguished single-screen theatre and a senior member of Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA), Ratan Saha, mentioned producers in Bollywood are hesitant to launch big-banner movies in Bengal, given the low turnout of the viewers on the cinema halls.

“Many hall owners are now regretting their decision to open theatres in October. There had been several releases since Durga puja, but nothing changed the scenario. Even Christmas and New Year failed to draw audiences. This has made the producers and distributors jittery,” Saha advised PTI.

“We think removing the 50 per cent-occupancy cap will certainly help us recover the cost of running theatres to an extent. It will further boost the confidence of the producers,” Saha, additionally the director of a neighborhood multiplex chain, said.

He mentioned {that a} formal request to sanction full occupancy in theatres has been made to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and cinema corridor owners have agreed to abide by all COVID-19 protocols to guarantee the protection of individuals.

Arijit Dutta, the proprietor of Priya Cinema, one of many iconic film theatres within the metropolis, mentioned the leisure trade is bleeding.

“We haven’t registered more than 5 per cent occupancy even during Christmas-New Year. If the entertainment  industry has to sustain, this cannot continue.” Dutta mentioned 100 per cent occupancy must be allowed in cinema halls to assist them keep afloat.

“There has been a drop in active COVID-19 cases; almost everything has opened up with precautions. Then why do
cinemas still suffer? We are implementing all safety guidelines,” he mentioned.

Striking a distinct observe, nonetheless, Navin Chokhani, the proprietor of Navina cinema, mentioned, “I will be okay with increasing theatre occupancy to 100 per cent only when I am sure that it wouldn’t jeopardise the safety of our audience and employees.”

If that isn’t attainable at this time limit, it’s finest to most likely anticipate a number of extra months, Chokhani added. An EIMPA official mentioned round 120 of the 250 single display theatres are at present operational, the remainder have closed store, and a few are completely shut.

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