Appealing to the Maharashtra government to not implement a lockdown as COVID-19 cases rise, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) along with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on Thursday wrote a letter to the office of the chief minister, Uddhav Thackeray. The organisations have said that a fresh lockdown, even if it is partial, is going to negatively impact the cinema business, and also suggested recommendations for smooth operations of cinemas.

The cinema body, which represents all the multiplex chains, including, PVR, INOX and Cinepolis, said, “While we appreciate the efforts by the authorities to control the spread of Covid and are ready to support the Government and the District Administration to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic, we believe that the lockdowns (if implemented) are going to negatively impact the cinema, retail and shopping industry. Such measures that curtail smooth operations will not only deter genuine movie-goers and shoppers, who have slowly returned to cinemas and shopping centers, from visiting cinemas and malls, but also put into motion a downward spiraling effect on cinema industry and modern retail that could derail recovery of these segments.”

The letter further states how the cinema closure ordered by the Maharashtra Government last year in March, followed by closures in other states across the country, have already brought the industry to an unprecedented situation. The film body stated, “With Zero revenues in 8 months (13 March 2020 till 9 November 2020), and thereafter meagre revenues in the last 5 months (9 November 2020 till 31 March 2021), the cinema exhibition industry is now facing possible bankruptcies. Films are the soft power of Maharashtra and cinemas continue to be the main form of entertainment for our masses. The cinema exhibition sector is a critical part of a functioning film industry, directly employing lakhs of people and contributing to indirect employment of millions of people.”

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