Amitabh Bachchan starring in Chehre.
Amitabh Bachchan starring in Chehre.
File photo

BHOPAL: As theatres started gearing up for new film releases to make up for the business they lost due to the lockdown for almost a year, the second wave of the Covid pandemic dashed all their hopes. Once again!

Film-makers, too, had taken a big risk in releasing movies for the big screens. Moreover, the movie buffs from the capital city waiting for some big releases were in for a shock after the district administration issued orders to close down cinemas in view of the sudden spike in corona-positive cases.

Theatres in Bhopal opened on March 11 and were pinning their hopes on big releases, such as a biopic based on shuttler Saina Nehwal, ‘Saina’, and ‘Roohi’, starring Rajkummar Rao and Janhvi Kappor, said multiplex owner Aziz Khan.

The corona pandemic has shaken the film industry just as it has others. Besides people related to the making of a film, multiplex and single-screen owners and their staff, too, had to suffer because of the pandemic. “We’re paying electricity bills and property tax without doing any business. The government didn’t provide any relaxation to us as they did to several other businesses,” added Aziz. Cinema owners also kept paying their staff, as well, he said.

The month of March saw releases of such films as ‘Roohi’ (March 11), ‘Mumbai Saga’ (March 19), ‘Saina’, ‘Haathi Mere Sathi’ and ‘Paglait’ (March 26). The future course of cinemas will be decided on the basis of the release of Amitabh Bachhan starrer ‘Chehre’, slated to release on April 9. People had started returning to the cinemas, but, before the theatres could start business, they have been asked to shut down again.

A shocker for Bhopali film-maker

A feature film, ‘Raag’, which was made by Bhopalis and was slated to release on March 26, too, suffered because of the closure of cinemas in view of the spread of coronavirus cases.

The film was based on Bedni dancers of Madhya Pradesh. It was written by Nazeer Qureshi and directed by Arvind Tripathi. ‘It was a proud moment for the whole team as the movie was about to release on Friday — but cinemas were ordered shut the same day,’ said writer of the movie Nazeer Qureshi. It is the last movie in which dance direction was given by the legendary Saroj Khan.

The star cast includes Sudha Chandran and Rajpal Yadav, among others. The movie was extensively shot in and around Bhopal, he added.

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