Sandalwood urges Karnataka CM to remove 50% occupancy norm for theatres

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Just as the Karnataka state government released the new guidelines for the gyms to be shut, and cinemas to operate with 50 per cent occupancy, the Sandalwood sought the state government to remove the new guidelines of half occupancy.

Post the guidelines were issued, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) held a meeting with the producers and exhibitors on Saturday.

Considering the present scenario, two-big budget movies Puneeth Rajkumar’s Yuvarathna and Darshan’s Roberrt are now running in the cinemas and as many as 90 per cent of the seats are booked online for the weekend. The guideline will be affecting 220 theatres in eight districts.

KFCC President D R Jairaj told DH, “It is similar to a murder. Everybody in the industry will be bankrupt now.”

It will be an ardent task to run the industry and the operations may subsequently shut down.

Jairaj said, “Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa stated that there was no proposal to permit only 50% of occupancy in theatres. The guideline is issued without consulting the Chamber. We would have stalled the recent releases if the government had informed us in advance. The cost of running a show is the same irrespective of the occupancy at 50 per cent or 100 per cent.”

K V Chandrashekhar, Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Association President said, “The CM has now placed the industry on ventilator.”

He further added, “In the last 11 months, the industry has not received even a single paise benefit from the government. It takes at least two years for us to make up for the losses.”

Puneeth Rajkumar stated, “The audiences are following Covid-19 guidelines while watching movies. The guideline will affect the industry. It will create fear among people.”

The decision is completely shocking, said Director Santosh Anandram. He asked, “There are programmes all over. There will be around 500 people inside the theatres. Why should the industry be targeted when there are two breaks during the show?”

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