Kerala's cinema halls are now open

Actor and MP Suresh Gopi made a quick visit to the city for the promotion of his movie ‘Kaaval’.

author_img Express News Service Published :  28th October 2021 12:34 PM   |   Published :   |  28th October 2021 12:34 PM

A theatre employee scans QR code on customer’s phone for contactless ticketing

KOCHI: As no new Malayalam movie was ready for theatre release in Kerala on Wednesday, ‘No Time to Die’ --- the James Bond spy movie featuring Daniel Craig --- marked the reopening of cinema halls. The government has granted movie houses permission to function at 50% seating capacity, provided they follow Covid protocol. Though morning shows were relatively empty, evening screenings were almost 75% full, said theatre operators.

Actor and MP Suresh Gopi made a quick visit to the city for the promotion of his movie ‘Kaaval’. He said he was hopeful of the theatre industry reviving its lost glory. ‘Star’, featuring Joju George in the lead role, will be the first Malayalam movie to hit the screens after reopening. Tom Hardy’s ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’ is another international hit that Kochiites can enjoy on the big screen this week.

From Thursday, some theatres will screen the Tamil movie ‘Doctor’, starring Sivakarthikeyan in lead role. In January, when the theatres reopened after the first wave of Covid, Vijay starrer ‘Master’ was a big break for the cinema houses, recollects Sethunath, manager of Sarita-Savita-Sangeeta, one of the first multi-screen complexes in Kerala.

“Other language films are also gaining good patronage. After six months, we are back to work and are very hopeful that theatres will be crowded once again in the coming weeks,” said Sethunath. Shaimon, a movie lover who attended one of the first shows of ‘No Time to Die’, said returning to the theatre was a great experience.

“Regardless of the language, I am a movie buff. I definitely cannot miss a Bond film,” he said. The Bond movie was released in other parts of India on September 30. 

Stream at home?
The influx of OTT platforms during the pandemic rerouted many away from movie theatres. Johnson, another youngster who turned up for a show on the reopening day, said he would prefer watching movies at home with his family.

“Though all of us are thrilled to return to the theatres, bringing small children to cinema houses before vaccinating them, or even after, is a concern. So, until the situation becomes safe for children, we would prefer to watch movies online at home,” he said.

However, the multiplexes assured that they have taken all necessary precautions to make the halls safe. At PVR in LuLu Mall, Edappally, many families turned up for the first day’s show. All the nine screens have started functioning with three shows daily, said PVR manager Jojy George.

Employees return
Jojy George, manager of PVR Cinemas in Lulu Mall, added that most of their former employees have returned after theatres reopened. “Almost all of them were retained and given salaries even when theatres were shut down due to the pandemic. Only contract employees, involved with housekeeping and security services were asked to leave but were paid necessary allowances. They are managed by their respective parent organisations,” he said.

Covid protocol in place
Theatres across the city are screening visitors with a thermal gun and providing hand sanitisers at the entrance. After every show, seats are being sanitised. Interval time has been increased to 25 minutes to lessen the rush. Food, beverage and snack counters have also been reopened.