THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Master’, Tamil superstar Vijay’s blockbuster film, saw ‘houseful’ theatres -- sticking to the appropriate occupancy allowed by the government. This time, however, the big screen experience was shaped by the pandemic. Replete with precautionary measures, every moviegoer had to undergo thermal screening, compulsorily wear masks and use sanitisers kept at the entrance. Social distancing was maintained inside the theatres.
Despite theatre authorities’ efforts to leave no stone unturned, several people were unaware of mandatory online bookings. Mani Krishnan, who was excited to watch ‘Master’, waited for two hours only to realise that tickets were not sold at the counter. “I’m completely ignorant about the online booking process; I’ve always bought tickets at the counter,” said the Vattiyoorkavu native.
Another moviegoer, Mithun Shah, who faced a similar ordeal, said, “I considered watching the movie at the Mall of Travancore theatre. But upon reaching the venue, I realised that the theatre wasn’t screening movies. Later when I arrived at Aries Plex hoping to get a counter ticket, I was told that only online bookings were available,” he said.
Meanwhile, theatre managers ensured that Covid-19 protocols were followed as most of the theatres witnessed huge crowds. Vipin R, theatre manager at Aries Plex, said, “Till Sunday, we have ‘houseful’ theatres with 50 per cent occupancy.
There will be three shows each on six screens. Many people came early to book tickets at the counter but as per protocol, those aren’t available. Besides disinfecting theatres after each show, we have also installed Wolf Airmask, equipment offering protection from harmful micro-organisms in the air.”While most theatres had smooth online bookings, some had to open counters due to technical issues.
With face masks and high spirits, movie buffs returned to the theatres which were opened after 10 months. While many moviegoers were thrilled to get back, several were cautious.
“I reached the theatre an hour ago as I knew Covid formalities would take time. I was super excited to watch ‘Master’ with my friend who is a massive fan of Vijay. The theatre management ensured the safety of movie buffs,” said Hari Krishnan, a Neyyattinkara native
“Earlier, we came in groups to watch movies. However, this time, we had to sit one seat apart to maintain social distancing. Although the movie was good, we couldn’t enjoy it completely due to the restrictions,” said Aravind J B from Balaramapuram
“We are Vijay fans and would never miss his movies. We are happy that the government took appropriate steps to reopen theatres. Post the lockdown, watching movies has become a new experience,” said Nihas A, who came with 11 friends