The film industry had barely started getting back in it’s feet, with films doing good business at the box office, and the virus has reared it’s ugly face again. Delhi government, on Tuesday, announced yellow alert in the Capital and theatres have to be shut down because of it. The trade feels this is going to lead to a domino effect, with films being pushed.
And it has started already. Shahid Kapoor’s cricket drama Jersey, slated to release on December 31, has been postponed. “In view of the current circumstances and new Covid guidelines we have decided to postpone the theatrical release of our film Jersey… Until then everyone please stay safe and healthy.. Team Jersey,” read a statement from the makers.
Rajender Jyala, Chief Programming Officer, INOX Leisure says this move to shut down Delhi theatres will hurt. “After a long time we were getting to release films, and getting a good number at the box office. It definitely hurts. The cases were not that much, but if government has taken a call we will abide by that. As far as other parts of the country are concerned right now, we are very good. SpiderMan: No Way Home has done excellent numbers, the Hindi dubbed version of Pushpa is extraordinary,” he says.
Rumours are rife about makers of Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj being postponed too. Trade expert Atul Mohan says, “Why are cinemas the first casualty whenever we have any kind of threat coming in? You have sites operating at full capacity without protocols and not checking whether you are vaccinated or not. We are first ones to close down, last to reopen, that too after a lot of requests. Ab sab jaayega aage, including RRR starring Ram Charan and NTR Jr. This shutting down trend will spread to other states, aur voh kuchh kare na karein, they will start making announcements ki theatres band ho gaye. This will be a bad start to the new year.”
He adds that makers of Prithviraj were supposed to send the publicity material to cinemas on Monday, but they didn’t ultimately.
Exhibitor Akshaye Rathi says future release are going to get affected now. “Other releases will get postponed now, when a market as important as Delhi shuts down. God forbid if other states follow. It’s the most illogical step of starting to shut down establishments again,” he opines.