Tamil Nadu Allows Full Occupancy in Theatres After Vijay Meets CM
Both Vijay’s 'Master' and Silambarasan’s 'Eeswaran' are expected to release during the Pongal holidays.
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday, 4 January, allowed theatres in the state to open with 100 percent capacity. The state took the decision after prominent actors including Vijay and Silambarasan requested that cinema halls be allowed to function at full capacity, as new movies are slated to release during and after Pongal celebrations.
Actor Vijay had personally met the Chief Minister last week to request for a relaxation in the existing restrictions. Both Vijay’s latest film 'Master' and Silambarasan’s 'Eeswaran' are both expected to release during the Pongal holidays.
The government stated that citing decreasing COVID-19 cases, theatre owners associations in the state made a representation seeking an increase in seating capacity in cinema halls and multiplexes. Following their representation, the government has added the following section to the existing permitted activities:
“The seating capacity of Cinemas/theatres/Multiplexes shall be permitted to increase from existing 0% to 100% by following the Standard Operating Procedure issued already. Further, in order to create awareness among the spectators, the precautionary measures for COVID-19 shall also be screened during the showtime,” the government order issued on Monday states.
Cinemas, theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu had been allowed to reopen from 10 November with 50% of their seating capacity after the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed relaxations in the COVID-19 guidelines. But with this decision, TN becomes the first state to allow 100% seating.
The move has, however, already garnered criticism from several quarters as theatres are closed and air-conditioned spaces, which could lead to the spread of the virus. While a 50% capacity allowed for booking of alternate seats, allowing for 100% capacity would lead to almost no physical distancing. Chennai is already grappling with two clusters this week in prominent five star hotels- ITC Grand Chola and Leela Palace. While 85 persons have tested positive in ITC, 20 have been tested positive in Leela Palace.
On 28 December, actor Vijay had met CM Edappadi Palaniswami over his upcoming release Master, and the actor, along with others from the movie’s team, had requested the Chief Minister to increase the capacity as against the current capacity of 50% seating at cinema halls. The movie starring Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi, Andrea Jeremiah, Malavika Mohanan and Arjun Das, directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj and produced by Xavier Britto, is slated to be the biggest release in Tamil post the pandemic.
(The article was first published in The News Minute and has been republished with permission)
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