The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Thursday wrote a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray requesting him not to impose a another lockdown in the state, in view of the rising Covid-19 cases.
The MAI stated that if a lockdown is imposed in the state, it would impact cinemas, retail and shopping industries.
“Such measures that curtail smooth operations will not only deter genuine movie-goers and shoppers, who have slowly returned to cinemas and shopping centres, from visiting cinemas and malls but also put into motion a downward spiralling effect on cinema industry and modern retail that could derail recovery of these segments,” MAI wrote in a statement.
The letter stated that with zero revenue from March 13, 2020 till November 9 , 2020, and thereafter a meagre revenue in the past five months November 10, 2020 till March 31, 2021, the cinema exhibition industry is on the brink of a “possible bankruptcy”. Recently, with news reports of a possible second lockdown in the state, major films like Amitabh Bacchan-starrer Chehre to Rana Daggubati‘s Haathi Mere Saathi delayed their releases, citing rising Covid-19 cases.
Maharashtra, the seat of the Hindi film industry and the crucial markets for Hindi cinema, continues to be one of the worst affected states in terms of Covid-19, contributing to the highest percentage of India’s daily number of cases, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The MAI requested the state government to allow cinemas, malls, and shopping centres to continue operating as per regular operational hours. They stated that cinemas halls are equipped with similar or better ability to ensure crowd control with a hygienic environment while maintaining social distancing norms as compared to retail shops in high street areas, local trains, metro services, airlines, railways services, etc.
The letter stated that another lockdown would be “extremely detrimental and would lead to severe and irreversible consequences for the cinema exhibition sector”.