On Tuesday, the Delhi government ordered the closure of cinema halls, multiplexes, and theme parks in the region under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) as the Covid-19 positivity rate remained above 0.5%. While bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open, they are restricted to operating at 50% capacity – and until 10 pm.
Meanwhile, producers and distributors are concerned with the release. Shahid Kapoor-starrer ‘Jersey’, scheduled to hit the cinema screens December 31, has already been postponed after the order. Decisions on SS Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ (release date January 7) and Yash Raj Films’ ‘Prithviraj’ (January 21) will be taken in due course, sources said.
“Delhi government’s decision to shut down cinemas in Delhi, while enforcing the ‘yellow’ alert of the GRAP, has caused massive uncertainty and could lead to irreparable damage for the Indian film industry,” said Kamal Gianchandani, president of the Multiplex Association of India (MAI).
He went on to say that the period since March 2020 has been the most difficult in Indian cinema’s long history. “After being allowed to reopen, cinemas have already demonstrated an ability to operate safely for the public and employees via the usage of enhanced ventilation systems, enhanced hygiene, and other safety protocols,” Gianchandani said.
The MAI has urged the Delhi government to consider introducing a “double vaccination requirement” to enter cinemas, as is the case in some of the other states. “Alternatively, the seating capacity restriction of 50% can be reintroduced at cinemas. We call on the government to recognise the unique social, cultural, and economic value of the Indian film industry, and to provide the support it so desperately needs to survive this unprecedented period,” he said.