After the devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, states have gradually started reopening public places. In Maharashtra, which was severely affected by the second wave, cinema halls and theatres are yet to reopen. However, according to a new report, auditoriums, drama theatres and cultural programs will restart in the state from November. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has reportedly met with theatre personalities from the state and has given in-principle approval to open these venues from November 5. However, these will reopen at 50% capacity.
According to a report in Times of India, Cultural Affairs minister Anil Deshmukh was quoted saying that detailed SOPs will be issued later. he also clarified that cinema halls and theatres will not reopen anytime soon. He said that since they have been shut for a while, they will require time to be ready for the public. He further said, ““The approval will be based on the severity of the third wave.”
Veteran Bollywood actress and theatre personality Rohini Hattangadi was quoted by the publication, saying, ““I am in a dilemma as I am both happy and not so happy at the news. The reopening of theatres is a welcome announcement, but November 5 is two months away. What if we witness a third wave of Covid in September-October, as health experts have predicted? If that happens, the move will be stalled, and all artists and crew will be disappointed.”
Last month, Multiplex Association of India had appealed to the Maharashtra government to allow them to open cinemas, “Government of Maharashtra’s decision to keep cinemas closed is hugely disappointing news for the entire film industry. This comes at a crucial time when the industry has received permission to reopen from all major States and is trying to recover from the devastating pandemic. Urging @OfficeofUT to reconsider and allow Cinemas to reopen @AUThackeray,” they posted on social media.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar had also appealed for the theatres to open after announcing the release of his film Bell Bottom.