The Andhra Pradesh government, on Thursday, granted permission to reopen the theatres that were seized and shut down when quality check raids were conducted by state officials recently.
According to an IANS report, about 100 cinema halls were shut down by the authorities for not complying with basic guidelines, while a number of other theatres that shut voluntarily due to the ongoing ticket price issue in the state.
The raids were conducted as part of the state government’s policy to “streamline the functioning of theatres” and the cinema halls that violated the rules were seized. With inspections being held across the state, it was found that about 15 theatres in Krishna district had not renewed their licenses. Officials also seized theatres that did not comply with the rules and sold tickets and snacks at costs higher than those prescribed by the state government. In Vizianagaram, three cinema halls were shut for not observing safety norms and for selling high-priced tickets.
On Thursday, producer and filmmaker R Narayanan Murthy, along with a few theatre owners, met Transport, Cinematography and I&PR Minister Perni Nani, who then granted permission for the seized theatres to be reopened. He ordered their reopening on the condition that the facilities fix all issues and put the prescribed safety norms in place within one month. The minister also directed the theatre owners to file an application in front of the Joint Collectors regarding the same.
Meanwhile, the ongoing ticket pricing issue between the Andhra Pradesh government and theatre owners remains unresolved. The state government capped cinema hall prices in April, much to the chagrin of the exhibitors. It later passed a bill forbidding over-the-counter sale of movie tickets, making it mandatory to sell them only through the State-run online booking platform. The responsibility of selling tickets through this portal, which will reportedly be similar to IRCTC, has been given to the Andhra Pradesh Film Development Corporation. This new online system is expected to be made available soon.
With big-budget films like Radhe Shyam and RRR lined up for release in January, the film industry and exhibitors are currently in negotiations with the government regarding the prices and a committee has been set up for the same.