HYDERABAD: Following the central government’s directive on reopening of theatres, the government of Telangana has recently given the multiplex chains a nod to reopen theatres in the state. And needless to say, film buffs in the twin cities — who have grown up on a weekly dose of new releases until Covid-19 hit them — were excited to be among the first to embrace the new normal.
Friday saw screenings of new movies such as Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi action-thriller, Suraj Pe MangalBhari, and OTT releases such as Kanulu Kanulanu Dhochayante which now made into theatres, besides movies such as Trolls, My Spy and Peninsula.
Nagasai Varagani, an Instagrammar who is known as HyderabadiFoodieGuy watched the 1.30 pm Telugu version of Tenet at PVR Forum on Friday. He says, “When I stepped in, the multiplex looked like it had barely registered any footfalls but all the seats inside were full. That could be because the seating was reduced by half due to social distancing norms.
I booked my tickets through a contactless ticket booking system and went in after the temperature check and sanitiser spray. All these were expected. But what I loved was 25 per cent discount on food,” he says. Ranjitha Reddy, an event manager who is now ‘on a holiday due to lack of work’ said she went to the cinemas as she barely had anything to do and wanted to actually see if she could plan an event or a promotional campaign for theatres in Hyderabad.
“For me, it was like work as I went and met the theatre manager and spoke to the audience to gauge their mood. I also managed to watch Tenet and it felt good to get back life as we knew it before March 2020,”she said. However, Ranjitha says movie theatres, which were major makeout points for collegians, will no longer see that crowd after they blocked one seat after every seat for social distancing. Incidentally, Prasad’s IMAX registered big crowds for his big screen which played Tenet. “I live close by and wanted to check out the crowds and ended up watching the movie.
It felt weird to wear the mask for the entire duration although the next person was pretty far away. I am not sure I want to do this again, immediately,” said Saikiran Duvetti, a techie with a work-from-job. He said he logged in early and will work late to clock in the three hours he missed out at the cinemas. In an effort to ensure health, safety and sanitization, and to build customer confidence, PVR said it is implementing stringent hygiene protocols, social distancing and food safety measures, along with minimal human contact across all touchpoints.
Chequered Audi seating with only 50% occupancy, social distancing marked queuing, digital contact-less transactions, operating 50% of the restroom facilities, installation of fibre and glass shields are some of the initiatives that have been introduced. In addition, all employees of the company undergo daily health screening daily and will be seen wearing PPE gear, face masks, gloves and face shields for extra protection.
Special PPE kits with masks, gloves and sanitisers have been made available for purchase as well. Further, the entire premises undergoes an EPA-approved complete ULV sanitisation process at regular intervals which helps in coating the surface with anti-microbial layers with electrostatic machines for up to thirty days. A deep cleaning and disinfection regime is followed every night by specially trained staff using medical-grade disinfectant chemicals, apart from the cleaning and sanitization after every show.
The use of anti-microbial film on most-touched surfaces and hourly disinfection of key touchpoints with hospital-grade virucide, use of UV cabinets to sterilize all food packaging are some of the other initiatives that have been adopted. Further, the brand has announced a private screening offer for `2,999 that can accommodate a maximum of 30 people.
Gautam Dutta, CEO of PVR Cinemas, said, “Telangana occupies a significant percentage of our screen share, making it an important market. Big films like Tenet will increase occupancy and numbers, and would further provide a great out of home experience for our patrons who were forced to stay in the confines of their homes for months. Our priority is to ensure the safety of our customers and employees by strictly adhering to all the safety protocols and guidelines laid down by the government and the global standards.”
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi email@example.com @mkalanidhi