Theatres in Maharashtra have finally opened doors after a hiatus of six months. Films like Pratik Gandhi‘s Bhavai and Akshay Kumar‘s previously-released film Bell Bottom are being screened in cinemas which reopened on Friday.
Cinema halls and theatres in the state were shut since the nationwide coronavirus lockdown in March 2020 and were reopened in November. However, they were closed once again in April 2021 after the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.
Last month, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that theatres would be allowed to open if they followed the government-specified SOPs.
The makers of Kumar’s Bell Bottom, (which released on August 20) opted to re-release the film following the Maharashtra cinema reopening. The film had earlier been released in around 2,000 screens across the country.
Theatres also saw two new films: Babloo Bachelor and Bhavai. The latter saw a bigger audience, BoxOfficeIndia reported.
While these Hindi films opened in theatres, according to the BOI report, footfalls in the state were heavier for Hollywood films like Shang Chi, No Time To Die, Dune, and Venom 2 – Let There Be Carnage.
Speaking to Silverscreen India about theatres opening up in the state, film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi said he expects business to be booming soon. “All of us in the film industry are very excited about the cinemas opening up and more so about the fantastic lineup of films coming up like Sooryavanshi, Antim, 83, and Satyameva Jayate 2. We are sure that with this kind of content, the audience will return to theatres in unprecedented numbers. Opening numbers might even be higher than pre-pandemic times.”
Rathi was referring to the release announcements of films like Sooryavanshi, Bunty Aur Babli 2, Laal Singh Chaddha, Jersey, and several others, which had all been waiting for the theatres in the state to open.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar told ANI, “We have reopened theatres with 50% capacity from today. However, the owners are demanding that they be allowed to operate with 100% seating capacity. We have told them to wait till Diwali. If, after Diwali, the situation is under control, then we will increase the capacity.”