Cinema halls, theatres, and multiplexes were permitted to open with 50% seating capacity from October 15, following the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, movie theatres remained shut for over six months. However, despite the relaxations, not all theatres have shown interest in reopening doors to the public, owing to different reasons. With only a handful of theatres reopening in Vizag and no new movies to be screened, the response from the movie goers is expected to be tepid.
Also, there has been a mixed bag of opinions surrounding the safety of visiting a cinema hall amid the prevailing pandemic. Some individuals are in no mood to take a risk, despite the safety measures in place at the theatres. Praveen, a bank professional from the city opines that it is not safe even now to go to the cinemas. “With the virus still spreading in the city, I don’t think it is a good idea to visit cinema halls yet, especially when you have family and friends with you. It still feels risky,” he shares.
While a few feel that the closed air-conditioned spaces in theatres would only increase the risk of contracting the virus, there are others who are eager to walk into their favourite cinema halls in Vizag. “I am all excited. I miss the caramel popcorn at Inox. And I think allowing 50% occupancy is a good move to prevent the spread. I miss the late-night shows the most,” says Vaidehi.
Also, there are those who have grown used to the OTT-binge. Manoj, a city-based entrepreneur says, “Except for movies which are worth watching on the big screen, I wouldn’t go to the cinema halls. The OTT has a lot of interesting content and it is easy on the pocket.”
Ensuring safety and attracting an audience appears to be no easy task for the theatre managements, which have already incurred huge losses during the lockdown. Given the situation, the release of a few big-ticket films is expected to turn the tide in their favour.
What do you think? Would you visit a nearby theatre to watch a film or prefer staying at home? Let us know in the comments.