CHENNAI: Despite the Tamil Nadu government allowing cinema halls to reopen, only 20 per cent of them have started operations, while around 30 per cent will reopen on Thursday and Friday. The remaining 50 per cent of the theatres, especially in rural areas, will reopen only after new Tamil films are released, according to industry sources.
In Madurai, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Erode and Trichy mostly there are multiplexes, which have no choice but to reopen by Thursday or Friday with the screening of Hindi and English movies. However in several rural areas, the cinema halls will only reopen in September with the release of new Tamil movies.
"I will reopen my theatre only with the release of a Tamil movie, as people here prefer to watch movies made in Tamil language. Even if I reopen my theatre before that, the attendence will be very low. Hence I've decided to reopen my theater with a Tamil movie in September," Mariappan, owner of Ashirvad theatre in Cumbum told IANS.
Similarly, several theatres, which were shut due to COVID-19, are concerned whether the audiences would return to theatres or not, as they have to incur a maintenance cost ranging between Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh a month.
Raghavan MP, owner of a theater in Coimbatore, while speaking to IANS expressed similar concerns while citing the fear of Covid third wave among people. PVR cinemas which has 83 screens across 13 properties in Chennai, Coimbatore and Vellore will reopen its theaters from Thursday.
The group, according to a statement, will release movies, "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It", "Bell Bottom", "Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard". Most of the industry people said that by the middle of September the movie industry of Tamil Nadu will be normal.
However, most are keeping their fingers crossed as the possibility of Covid's third wave looms large in the minds of most of the theatre owners. In Tamil Nadu, where there are around 1,200 screens and more than six lakh seatings, a day's closure would lead to a loss of around Rs 8 crore.
Tamil Nadu is one of the states in the country that has produced several political leaders from the film industry including the former Chief Ministers MG Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.