Bhopal: Amid Coronavirus outbreak, closed cinema hall gates welcome theatre lovers

BHOPAL: “As per MP Government order, Cinema will remain closed from 14th March to 31st March 2020 due to Corona virus,” reads a notice hanging on the locked main gate of Jyoti Cineplex in MP Nagar in the city.

All single-screen theatres and multiplexes cancelled shows on Saturday because of the state government’s order for closure of theatre halls to arrest spread of the disease. At other theatres, there was no notice but the main gates were locked and secured with padlocks.

A security guard Rampal Yadav at the Rangmahal Theatre in New Market, peeping from behind the locked gate, Free Press- Theatre band hai. “I have turned back hundreds of persons since the morning,” he said.

“We have pasted the message on the gate so that we had not to explain the reason of closure to people one by one. Most of the cine-lovers, unaware of the government’s decision, had to return home empty-handed. Its number is 100 till noon,” said Shoeb Khan, a security guard at Jyoti Cineplex.

Apparently, the people, on Friday evening, were caught unawares by the sudden decision of the government.

Saturday being a local holiday on account of Rangpanchami people who reached the theatres, could not watch movies.

Cinepolis multi-screen theatre at DB Mall was also closed and the booking counter was deserted.

“I live at Aakriti Eco City, Bhopal. I am waiting here for long. It may be opened till 4pm or 5pm due to Rangpanchami,” said motivational speaker Nirmala Anthony who visited Cinepolis DB Mall to watch ‘Thappad.’

She further said, “I don’t think, it is closed due to coronavirus because my daughter watched movie at PVR yesterday evening. She was allowed to enter theatre after fever test.”

“There are no shows today,” said the manager of the PVR cinema, Aura Mall. When asked about the quantum of loss the decision would entail for the theatre, he declined comment. “I have nothing to more to say,” he said.

The computer screen simply went blank on clicking the ‘Book Now’ tab on the online booking portals of multiplexes in the city, leaving the cine-lovers perplexed. “I first thought their server was down or something. They should have at least put up a notice on their websites saying that the shows have been cancelled,” said a student Anvi, who visited Cinepolis DB Mall to watch ‘Angrezi Medium’, which released on Friday.

Loss of Rs 30 crore

We will incur a loss of around Rs 30 crore because of closure of cinema halls across the state from March 14 to 31. Since it is government’s order, we have to follow. There are 263 single-screen theatre in the state. There are 23 multiplexes and in 10 single screen theatre in Bhopal.

- Azizuddin, secretary, MP Cinema Association

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