Guwahati: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) on Friday suggested that cinema halls should be permitted to reopen across the country from August onwards.
The I&B secretary Amit Khare in a meeting with the CII Media Committee recommended that cinema halls be allowed to reopen all over India on August 1st or by August 30th. The final decision in this regard will be taken by the secretary of the Home Ministry, Ajay Bhalla.
When the theatres open, it is going to be a different viewing experience for the audience as the Ministry plans a new seating arrangement in concurrence with social distancing norms. According to their plan, every alternate seat in a row should be occupied, and then the next row is kept vacant and proceeding in a similar fashion throughout. Khare said that two meters has been slightly reduced to two yards in this seating arrangement.
However, cinema owners present in the interaction viewed the I&B Ministry's suggestion as "not so good" and expressed their concerns about incurring losses if films are shown with fewer people.
The meeting was attended by media CEOs like NP Singh of Sony, Sam Balsara of Madison, Megha Tata of Discovery, Gaurav Gandhi of Amazon Prime, Manish Maheshwari of Twitter, S. Sivakumar of Bennett and Coleman Ltd, K. Madhavan of Star and Style and also the Chairman of the CII Media Committee.
The Home Ministry has not decided anything on the recommendation of the I&B Ministry and is yet to respond to the matter. Since the lockdown and closure of theatres, many films have been released on OTT platforms.