Exclusive! Kunal Kemmu: Does it make sense to reopen theatres with a restricted, 50 percent occupancy?

While the Ministry of Home Affairs allowed movie theatres to reopen with 50 per cent capacity, the Maharashtra government has been reeling under the pressure of reopening theatres in the state. Amidst the debate, Kunal Kemmu shares his doubts as he wonders if such a move would be of any benefit to the theatre owners, who have already suffered losses due to the lockdown.

He expresses his views saying, “Firstly, we need to consider the fact that will people feel safe, in times of the pandemic, to watch films in cinema halls? Secondly, if the government gives a green lit to reopen cinema halls with 50 per cent occupancy then will this kind of footfall be enough to make profits?”

He further explains his point adding, “See, you will be already running auditoriums with only half the capacity. Even during normal scenarios, the theatres don’t enjoy 100 per cent occupancy. Sometimes they are just 80 per cent full. Thus, with 50 per cent occupancy permissible, there might be only 35 per cent occupancy. This way the math gets affected. So if you ask me, even if theatres are given permission to open at 50 per cent occupancy, I don’t know if it is a reason to celebrate. I know there are a lot of jobs that have been affected because of theatres being shut, but I feel only when people feel 100 per cent safe, which I think is once the vaccine is in place, will this business flourish.”