In the hope that it will help recover some blockbuster films from the months of closure due to the epidemic in India, theaters have started reopening in Mumbai, the city that loves cinema and the home of Bollywood cinema.
Cinema holds a special place in Indian culture where the stars enjoy an almost divine status and people watch the same movie many times even though they have to stand in long queues.
But the closures and the devastating corona virus outbreak in April and May pushed Indians off the big screens and bankrupted many small theaters.
Many Indians turned to streaming sites like Netflix, which saw their subscriptions skyrocket and some Bollywood tapes were released.
Only a few theaters opened on Friday. Old tapes were screened with the new James Bond movie and the latest superhero Venom, with some participants sitting at a distance from each other.
“I’m a film enthusiast. I’m been waiting a long time for this day. The last movie I saw was in 2019, before the epidemic.
The industry hopes the series of big-budget blockbusters will bring the good old days back to theaters.
On the weekend of Deepavali, the Festival of Lights in November, some of the long-awaited Indian productions like “Suryavanshi” starring one of Bollywood’s best stars Akshay Kumar will start screening.
No ice cream, with mask
Bollywood, India’s Hindi language film industry, is valued at $ 2.5 billion in 2019. Non-native language films are also a major business in India.
The state of Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai are finally reopening their theaters, but it is “the most important place” for the film industry, film market analyst Komal Nahta told AFP.
“Maharashtra contributes 20% of India’s total film revenue. Mumbai is the nerve center of Bollywood,” Nahta recalled.
The rooms operate at a maximum of 50% efficiency and in the days before the epidemic you could not enter with food except when people were asked to bring “biryani” (Indian rice) and ice cream to their seats.
Participants must wear a mask at all times and cinema workers must be fully vaccinated, although that requirement is not required by the general public.
“The effects of the epidemic will last, but we hope to bring audiences back to theaters by 2021,” said Ajay Bijli, chairman of PVR, India’s largest cinema chain.
Nahda predicted that the public would “come back strong, so let’s look at revenue beyond what everyone can imagine.”
ng / stu / axn / mas / es
“Beer fanatic. Bacon advocate. Wannabe travel junkie. Social media practitioner. Award-winning gamer. Food lover.”