Kerala Govt Advises Shutdown of Cinemas Amid Coronavirus Fears
As Kerala battles a novel coronavirus outbreak, with six fresh cases of COVID-19 being reported on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has issued guidelines to prevent its escalation in the state. Restrictions have been imposed on large gatherings of people, and film screenings, concerts and plays have been barred in the state till 31 March. Actor Mohanlal’s film Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham, which was slated for a 26 March release, is likely to be postponed in light of these developments.
In response to the advisory, the M Renjith, president of the Kerala Film Producers’ Association, has said that cinema halls will remain closed till 16 March. “We have learnt that a government-level review of the general situation will be held on 16 March. A decision on whether to extend the period of the closure of theatres will be taken on the basis of the feedback given by the government,” The Hindu quoted him as saying.
Prior to the government advisory, actor Tovino Thomas and his team decided to postpone the release of Kilometers and Kilometers, which was to hit theatres on 12 March. He announced the news in a Facebook post that read:
“Keeping in mind that one of the ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid mass gatherings, we have decided to postpone the release of Kilometres & Kilometres. This film is the result of days and months of toil and dreams, but the safety of us and those around us is more important than anything else. We became an example to the world by resisting Nipah, and we will overcome this too.”
Tovino Thomas co-starred in Parvathy Thiruvothu, Revathi and Asif Ali in Aashiq Abu’s 2019 medical thriller Virus, which was based on Kerala’s 2018 Nipah virus outbreak. According to a report in The Hindu, the Kerala Film Producers’ Association have asked the producers of movies that are currently being shot in the state to “take a call on whether to suspend the work based on the health scenario prevailing at the various shoot locations.” If COVID-19 cases continue to escalate, April releases such as Vijay’s Master and Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru may also be postponed.