The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Secretary Amit Khare has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to consider reopening of cinema halls all over the country from August 1. I&B Secretary Amit Khare indicated this at a close-door industry interaction with the CII Media Committee on Friday. He said his opposite number in the Home Ministry, Ajay Bhalla, will take the final call.
Consider re-opening of cinema halls in August | What we know
- I&B secretary Amit Khare said that he has recommended that cinema halls may be allowed to reopen all over India as early as August 1 - or at the latest, around August 31.
- The formula suggested is that alternate seats in the first row and then the next row be kept vacant and proceeding in this fashion throughout.
- Khare said that his ministry's recommendation takes into consideration the two metre social distancing norm, but tweaks it gently to two yards instead.
- The Home Ministry still has to revert on the recommendation.
- But Cinema owners, present in the interaction, however, pushed back and said this formula is unwise and merely running films at 25 per cent auditorium capacity is worse than keeping the cinemas shut.
The attendees at the meet included media CEOs like NP Singh of Sony, Sam Balsara (Madison), Megha Tata, (Discovery), Gaurav Gandhi (Amazon Prime), Manish Maheshwari (Twitter), S. Sivakumar (Bennett Coleman and Co Ltd), and K. Madhavan, Star & Disney, and also Chairman, CII Media Committee.
The OTT platforms present, including Gandhi of Amazon Prime, did not push back. Some Bollywood producers, notably those of Amitabh Bachchan's "Gulabo Sitabo", have posted their movies on OTT, rather than live out the lockdown uncertainty.
(With inputs from IANS)