Cinema halls struggle to survive as the footfall remains low even after government allows 100 percent seating capacity
Bengaluru: Ashwath, manager of Anupama theatre (Gandhi Nagar) says that people are not ready to come to the theatres. “We have invested Rs. 1.5 crore on the renovation of the theatre recently, yet we are running in a loss. We are ensuring all the safety measures and giving people the confidence to turn up to cinemas. We are not allowing people without masks to enter the cinema hall. We’re hoping that everything goes well in the coming days.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has permitted the opening of cinema theatres with 100 percent occupancy. The government of India has issued these guidelines to follow in cinema halls.
Radhakrishna cinema hall in R.T. Nagar conducts four shows a day and they said that they get only 50 people per show ever since the Covid-19 relaxation. The cinema hall authorities say that they think it will take a couple of months to get back to the pre-Covid business. “We had 300 people per show prior the pandemic, now there are only 20 percent people turning up to cinema halls,” says Ramchandra Rao, second manager of the theatre.
The manager of Pushpanjali Cinema hall in Sultanpalya says that they had hundred people visiting before the pandemic, now there are 25 to 30 people visiting per show. Sometimes there are no-shows played because there are not enough people coming for the shows.
Poonacha the manager of Vaibhav cinema hall in Sanjay Nagar said that they used to get 70 percent occupancy before the covid-19 outbreak. Now the occupancy has reduced roughly to 30 percent.
Pushpa, a resident in Kumbalgudu says that she is scared to go to cinema hall. “My kids are still small so my concern is that if we go to a movie they might touch everywhere and get exposed to the virus. Post-lockdown financial situation at home is very bad. With higher ticket prices and threat of contacting the virus we are not willing watch a movie at theatre,” she added.
According to the guidelines provided by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP), appropriate arrangements for personal protection devices like face masks, hand gloves, face-shields shall be made available by the management for their employees as per requirement.
“Good movies always get the people to theatres,” says Raghavendra from UFO Moviez India Ltd, a film distribution office in Bangalore. “The business is slow as of now but the situation will be improved gradually. People started coming to cinema halls which is a good sign and we believe that the footfall will increase in the coming days.”
Krishna, a resident in Kumbalgudu says that before covid-19 he used to watch two films per week. “Cinema halls are open from last one month but I did not watch a single film in theatre. There is a possibility of contracting the virus in the theatres so now I avoid going to a cinema hall and watch a movie. Hope in future things get normal and everyone can freely walk into a theatre,” he added.