Bhopal: Single-screen theatres void of films, may remain shut till March 2021

BHOPAL: Under Unlock 5.0, the government had allowed reopening of cinema halls and theatres with certain restrictions from October 15. The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has also mandated the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the same.

All single- and multi-screen movie theatres in the state were shut since March 14 due to Coronavirus pandemic. A few multiplexes in the state have reopened from October 15.

However, it seems like single-screen theatres in the state may not reopen till March next year because they still don’t have any major film to screen.

There are 10 single-screen theatres in Bhopal and 361 in the state. It was hoped that the single–screen theatres may reopen around Diwali because seven movies were lined up for release this Diwali Week.

These movies are Laxmii, Ludo, Soorarai Pottru, Chhalaang, SIR, Mookuthi Amman and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari. But of these, only two movies SIR and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari will release in theatres on November 13 and 15 while the rest have been scheduled for over-the-top (OTT) media platforms.

Secretary of MP Cinema Owners; Association, Azizuddin told Free Press that single-screen theatres in the state may open next year in March because they still have no big ticket films to exhibit. They were hoping that some big movies would release on Diwali in theatres but that did not open, he said.

The secretary said the movies which have been released or lined up for release this Diwali week are neither big nor are they being released in theatres. For example, Laxmii is not such a big-budget movie which can feed all the theatres. And also it was released on Netflix, he said. “Theatres will not reopen until the film release. Film release hona zaroori hai cinema ke liye …” Azizuddin said.

Similarly, Owner of Bharat Cineplex, Hamidia Road, Ashwini Agrawal, said he is not sure when the hall will reopen because there are no movies to screen. It may be reopened next year, nothing is clear now", Agrawal said.

Manager of Rang Mahal Cinema, New Market, MH Rizvi, said they haven’t received instructions neither from Indore nor from Mumbai to reopen theatres.

Manager of Jyoti Cineplex, M P Nagar, Rakesh Narula, said that they haven’t decided the date of reopening because there are no films to screen. “Ek week ke liye kholkar band thodi karna hai humko....,” Narula said.

Movies releasing this Diwali week:

- Laxmii - November 9 (Disney Plus Hotstar)

- Ludo - November 12 (Netflix)

- Soorarai Pottru - November 12 (Amazon Prime Video)

- Chhalaang - November 13 (Amazon Prime Video)

- SIR - November 13 (Theatre)

- Mookuthi Amman - November 14 (Disney Plus Hotstar)

- Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari - November 15 (Theatre)

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