Top Bollywood producer and director Karan Johar on Thursday urged the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government to allow cinemas to operate amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
Taking to Twitter, the 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' director wrote, "We urge the Delhi Government to allow cinemas to operate. Cinemas are equipped with better ability to ensure a hygienic environment while maintaining social distancing norms as compared to other out-of-home settings."
Earlier in the day, a delegation of Multiplex Association of India (MAI) members met Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and requested his intervention in allowing cinema halls to reopen in the national capital.
The MAI delegation in its meeting highlighted the "adverse economic situation" being faced by the industry due to multiple shut downs since March 2020.
According to a statement, the delegation informed Sisodia that the government's decision to shut down cinemas in Delhi while enforcing the 'yellow' alert of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has caused "massive uncertainty", leading to a shift in film releases, such as Shahid Kapoor's "Jersey", which is no longer releasing on December 31.
The delegation was led by PVR Limited Chairman Ajay Bijli, who said the association appreciates the government's battle against COVID but offered alternatives instead of a complete closure of cinema halls.
"We would urge the Delhi Government to consider introducing 'double vaccination requirement' to enter cinemas, as is the case in some other states. Alternatively, the seating capacity restriction of 50 per cent can be reintroduced at cinemas," the statement read.
On his part, Sisodia assured the delegation that the matter would be taken up with Delhi Disaster Management Authority Task Force and other government officers, the association added.
At the meeting, the delegation urged the minister to give cinemas an "equal treatment" at par with other industries and institutions.
They said the exhibition sector has demonstrated an ability to "operate safely for the public and employees", with the usage of enhanced ventilation systems, enhanced hygiene and other safety protocols.
The delegation also submitted a research report on- 'Low COVID Transmission Risk in Cinemas', which captures findings at various cinemas across the globe.
"Delegation highlighted the unique social, cultural and economic value of the Indian film industry, and requested the Deputy Chief Minister to provide the support it so desperately needs to survive this unprecedented period," the statement further read.
(With PTI inputs)
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