Members of the Kannada film fraternity took to social media to demand full seating capacity in Karnataka a day after the state government announced that all cinema halls in the state will continue to operate at 50% seating capacity till February 28.
Celebrities, including KGF director Prashanth Neel, Raajakumara star Puneeth Rajkumar, actor-producer Shiva Rajkumar, actor and filmmaker Rakshit Shetty, executive producer of Hombale Films Karthik Gowda, and actor Raam have been tweeting with #KFIDemandsFullOccupancy on Twitter.
Rajkumar tweeted “When private functions, places of worship, public transport, markets, tourist places are allowed to operate normally, Why not MOVIE THEATRES !?”.
Echoing him, Prashanth Neel tweeted: “While cinema is entertainment to most, it’s lifeline to many.”
— DrShivaRajkumar (@NimmaShivanna) February 3, 2021
While every other public area continues to bustle with people, Karnataka has once again limited the theatre occupancy to 50%. Why? Are we forgetting that cinema is a means of livelihood for many across the state!#KFIDemandsFullOccupancy @drashwathcn @CMofKarnataka @mla_sudhakar
— Rakshit Shetty (@rakshitshetty) February 3, 2021
On January 30, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting increased the seating capacity in all cinema halls across the country to 100%. In the circular, the government guidelines included ensuring six feet distancing, usage of masks, availability of sanitisers and sanitisation of premises, thermal screenings, allowance of longer intervals, complete digital booking system, among other detailed guidelines.
In the new circular issued by the Karnataka government, while the state government has allowed full seating capacity in hotels and restaurants, they have decided to stick to 50% seating capacity “considering the possible second wave of Covid-19”.
“However, after reviewing the current scenario of COVID-19 and also considering the possible second wave of COVID-19, it has been decided that as a matter of abundant precaution and in the larger interest of public health 50% capacity of seating in cinema halls shall continue till 28th of February 2021,” the circular stated.
In October 2020, soon after the Central government’s orders on reopening theatres with 50% occupancy, the Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Federation announced their decision not to reopen theatres in Karnataka until January 2021. This divided the film fraternity as the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) said that while most single-screen theatres remained shut, multiplexes would continue to function.
Earlier, KFCC president DR Jairaj had told Silverscreen India: “No big star movies are opening because of protocols like 50% occupancy. Once it becomes 100% or 75% occupancy, it will be fine. By end of this month or November , things should go back to normal.”
Kannada films slated to release in February include Inspector Vikram, Shadow, Manjra, Mangalavara Rajaadina, Kanasu Maratakkide, Chakra, Pogaru, Cyanide Mallika, and Salt.
Though the Centre’s guidelines came into effect from February 1, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had already begun functioning at 100% capacity since January.
Inputs from Shrija Ganguly and Anindita Banerjee