December 29 : With Covid-19 cases rising in the country once again, Delhi recorded 331 new cases on Monday, the highest single day increase in 201 days. One Covid-19 fatal case was also reported in the day. To control the situation, Delhi government announced yellow alert and took several strict restrictions including night curfew and shut down of cinema halls.
This has become a major cause of concern for the film industry, which was on its way to bounce back from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic last year and in the beginning of this year. Now, the Delhi government ordered to shut down cinema halls have impacted the multiplex owners in the national capital. The concerned owners wrote to the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to reconsider the new rules and allow the theatres to operate with proper guidelines and protocols.
Several Bollywood actors including Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon have supported the multiplex association, who have issued a plea for the Delhi government. Varun and Kriti, who will share screen space in their forthcoming film Bhediya, have extended their support to the plea of the multiplex owners. The actors have share the Multiplex Association of India's (MAI) statement on their Instagram stories, and urged their fans to read and spread it. They have also urged the government to consider it.
MAI's letter stated that the Delhi government's decision will have immense impact and could also lead to "irreparable damage" to the film industry, as 2020 was most challenging for the industry. "Not a single outbreak of Covid-19 anywhere around the world has been traced to a cinema," MAI stated.
It also pointed that that the cinema industry should be treated in the same way as other industries and institutions. MAI urged Delhi government to introduce double vaccination requirement to enter cinemas like in Maharashtra and apply a 50 per cent capacity in each hall.
After a long gap, cinema halls started operating at 100 per cent capacity in October. In July, Delhi government had allowed to operate the cinema halls at 50 per cent seating capacity. Movie halls were closed in April to control the second wave of Covid-19.
The government decision to shut cinema halls has immediately affected the movies which have been recently released like 83, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Pushpa: The Rise - Part I. The announcement came as a big blow to filmmakers, theatre owners, exhibitors, and distributors. The theatres were just reviving with films like Sooryavanshi, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Pushpa, bringing people back to the theatres despite the 50 per cent capacity rule in some states.
Amid the rise in Covid-19 cases, the first film to postpone its release is Shahid Kapoor and Mrunal Thakur starrer Jersey, which was slated to release on December 31 this year.
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