Impractical rule, say exhibitors

The Mysuru district administration’s decision making COVID-19 negative report (RT-PCR test done within 72 hours) mandatory to watch films in cinemas here has not gone down well with the exhibitors who have called it “impractical” and argue that such a decision would make things even more hard for the crisis-hit single-screen cinemas.

While urging Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri to reconsider her decision, Mysuru Film Exhibitors’ Association Secretary M.R. Rajaram said the decision will lead to collapse of single screens which are facing losses since last one year over the pandemic. “The shows with 50 per cent seating capacity are already causing losses and this decision is like indirectly telling us to shut down business,” he felt.

Mr. Rajaram said the cinemas had started enforcing 50 per cent seating rule since Wednesday as agreed, issuing only 50 per cent tickets. “Before we could come to terms with this, the decision on negative report has come. It will ruin the film industry as nobody will come to watch the films with a negative report,” he argued.

Mysuru happens to be the second biggest collection centre in the State after Bengaluru. If Bengaluru makes 50 per cent of the total earnings in the State, Mysuru makes about 25 per cent business, he explained.

The jurisdictional police here had started monitoring cinemas for the implementation of the seating capacity rule.

“If the decision on the negative report is not reconsidered, more number of cinemas will start shutting down their business like what happened to a couple of them here in COVID-19 times last year,” Mr. Rajaram said.

The association has also questioned the rationale of the Mysuru City Corporation seeking interest on the unpaid property tax and trade licence fees when the business of cinemas has nosedived and they are struggling to keep the trade on despite all the pandemic-hit hardships.

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