Andhra Pradesh Covid curbs dampen festive Sankranti mood

Film exhibitors say amid crisis due to GO fixing ticket prices, 50% cap on seating not viable
Cinema theatre (File photo)
Cinema theatre (File photo)

VIJAYAWADA: With the state government implementing night curfew from Monday across the state in the wake of the spread of the Coronavirus, theatre owners and shopkeepers, who pinned their hopes of earning revenue during the Sankranti festival season, remained in a dilemma over their future.

In Vijayawada, theatre owners said they were already facing a crisis due to the cut in the price of tickets and the lack of big-budget movies during the festive season.

A film exhibitor on condition of anonymity told TNIE that the government’s decision to implement 50 per cent occupancy in cinemas was a big blow for the theatre management. He said implementing 50 per cent occupancy in theatres is not a viable option in the current scenario.

Stating that except in Andhra, nowhere in the country, Covid protocols were being strictly imposed on movie theatres, the film exhibitor suggested that steps should be taken by the government to implement the 50 per cent occupancy in theatres after Sankranti, considering the plight of the film exhibitors and theatre managements who have been severely hit by the Covid pandemic.

Several big budget films like ‘RRR’ directed by SS Rajamouli and Radhe Syam starring Prabhas have been postponed following the spike in the positive cases of the virus.

However, facing all the odds, the movie ‘Bangarraju’ starring Akkineni Nagarjuna is the only big budget film this festive season, apart from other low budget films.

At Besant Road, the one stop centre for all the shopping needs of the public, B Siva Sankar, a shopkeeper, said Sankranti and Dasara are important festivals as several people buy new clothes.

“Keeping this in mind, we have procured stocks from Surat, Bengaluru and Coimbatore to meet the needs of the public. People will begin to purchase new clothes in the next couple of days. So, we are making all arrangements to ensure strict implementation of Covid guidelines in our premises. Customers will have to wear face masks mandatorily.”

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The New Indian Express