Organisations such as the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), Producers Guild of India (GUILD) and the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) have cited the financial struggle of the last six months and asked the government for relaxations.
The Indian film industry film has jointly appealed to the Government of India to reopen cinemas in light of mounting losses amid the coronavirus pandemic. Organisations such as the Multiplex Association of India (MAI), Producers Guild of India (GUILD) and the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) have cited the financial struggles of the last six months and requested the government for relaxations.
“The cinema exhibition sector, comprising close to 10,000 cinema screens across the country, is a critical part of a functional and dynamic film industry,” a letter from the film bodies reads. “This is a sector which directly employs more than two lakh people while providing indirect income to lakhs of people. Due to countrywide lockdowns, the cinema industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation; it was the first sector to be shut down and will be the last to reopen.” Under the four phases of ‘Unlock’, malls, airlines, railways, restaurants and metros have been permitted to reopen with restrictions in India. While film and TV productions have resumed, the exhibition sector is still unoperational.
“Cinemas are equipped with better abilities to ensure crowd management in stringent hygienic environments while maintaining applicable social distancing norms,” the letter reads, enlisting the different ways cinemas can ensure public safety. It also points out how countries like China, UK, USA, France and others have reopened cinemas while observing safety protocols.
“Assigning top-most priority to the health and well-being of our guests and employees, we have developed and are ready to implement a safety plan with the most stringent SOP’s,” the letter adds. “Given the dire economic impact of the epidemic on our sector and livelihoods of people, we sincerely urge the government of India to allow reopening of cinemas on an urgent basis.” The letter was widely shared on social media by industry members and production houses.
“Dreams come to life at movies on the big screen. There are millions behind the screen who make that happen. Jobs are at stake. Can’t wait for cinemas to reopen! #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs,” Anurag Kashyap tweeted. “The grandeur of experiencing a story on a large screen is unmatched. Not to forget, thousands of jobs are at stake. #UnlockCinemaSaveJobs,” Dharma Productions wrote on their Twitter handle.