Was Disappointed With Maharashtra Opening Only Malls: Multiplex Association Head
Multiplex Association of India President Kamal Gianchandani talks about how the shutting of cinemas affected them.
Akshay Kumar's Bell Bottom is all set to hit theatres on 19 August. It will the biggest film to release since theatres re-opened after the second wave of COVID-19. While cinemas in Maharashtra remain shut, it has been a major cause of concern for multiplex owners and producers.
The Quint spoke to Kamal Gianchandani, president of Multiplex Association of India, who told us how Maharashtra cinemas being shut has affected them.
"We are disappointed. Especially when all the other states have permitted cinemas to open, all major states. Local trains have been permitted, street markets have been permitted to operate for long, cases are down, people are trying to get back to their normal lives. Malls and cinemas are an integral part of our social fabric. There is absolutely no reason to keep these shut".Kamal Gianchandani, President of Multiplex Association of India
In terms of box office collection 30% of the business comes from Maharashtra. It is the core of the business because this is where the Bollywood industry is situated. The Maharashtra government, on 16 August, announced new guidelines for easing lockdown restrictions which includes all essential and non-essential shops (including shopping malls) to remain open all weekdays till 8 pm.
All public gardens and playgrounds are open. Even gyms, yoga centres, salons, beauty parlours, spas can remain open with 50 percent capacity. But cinema theatres, drama theatres and multiplexes (independent and inside malls) have to remain closed till further orders. From 15 August local trains have also been opened for people who are fully vaccinated.
"We were extremely disappointed when Maharashtra decided to open only malls but continues to keep cinemas shut. That said we are happy that the government has taken a step forward and permitted malls to open. We are hoping over the next few days cinemas will also get the permission to reopen. Needless to say we will follow all safety protocols and guidelines which are issued by the government".Kamal Gianchandani, president of Multiplex Association of India
The multiplex association is in touch with the government officials and are hopeful that theatres will open in next few days.
"We have been in regular touch and all members of the government have been extremely encouraging and been sympathetic to our concerns. Which is why I have this strong feeling and we are hopeful that the government will permit us to open in next couple of days." adds Gianchandani.
Gianchandani informed that they've been in touch with the producers of films that await release. "In the same context I would like to publicly acknowledge Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani and Honey Bhagnani for this very bold step of releasing Bell Bottom even when Maharashtra is shut," he added.
He further appreciated the move and gave the Bell Bottom team his best wishes. Gianchandani said that the advanced booking for the Akshay Kumar starrer had started last Saturday and the advances have been 'very strong'.
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