Theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu opened their doors nearly after four months on August 23, Monday, as the Tamil Nadu state government announced relaxations in COVID-19 safety norms and permitted reopening of theatres. In view of the second wave of coronavirus, the previous AIADMK government had announced closure of cinema halls from April 26, this year.
In addition to the relaxations that the DMK government has been announcing in stages over the past few months, Chief Minister MK Stalin announced in a press statement on Saturday, August 21, that cinema halls across the state will be operational from Monday. While the government has permitted theatres across the state to operate with 50% occupancy, movie buffs might have to wait longer for upcoming Tamil movies to hit the big screens.
Speaking to TNM, Tirupur M Subramaniam, President, Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners' Association, revealed that only 30% of the theatres reopened on Monday and the rest will be operational only from Friday, since announcements about the theatrical release of upcoming Tamil movies are awaited. â€śSince the decision only came two days ago, it will take 2-3 more weeks for films to be announced,â€ť he said.
Lineup of movies
VNCT Valliappan, Managing Director of Kamala Cinemas, one of the few theatres in Chennai that reopened on Monday, told TNM that the response from fans has been positive and theatre owners are optimistic about the release of Tamil movies in the upcoming weeks. â€śWe were prepared to deal even with just 10 people turning up since reopening of theatres is a step in the right direction and we were given the opportunity to do so after a long time. But, we had a good response from people,â€ť Valliappan stated. He also added that the theatre opened to 25% occupancy on Monday.
The theatres that have reopened across the state are currently showcasing the Tamil dubbed version of movies such as Hollywood movie The Conjuring 3, Akshay Kumar starrer Bell Bottom and Godzilla vs. Kong, among others, while many are gearing up for a grand re-opening over this weekend. Speaking about movies that were showcased in Chennaiâ€™s Kamala Cinemas, Valliappan pointed out, â€śOn Monday, we picked movies such as Parris Jeyaraj and Godzilla vs. Kong, that were being screened when the theatres closed. However, we are currently in talks with distributors. Movies like Dhanushâ€™s Karnan and Karthiâ€™s Sulthan might be showcased over the weekend.â€ť In addition, he noted that announcements about new movies are likely to be made from the first week of September.
It is worth noting that Kangana Ranaut and Arvind Swamiâ€™s Thalaivi, the biopic of actor and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalithaa, will be one of the first Tamil movies to hit the big screens in the month of September. The makers of the movie announced on Monday that the film will be hitting the big screen on September 10.
Noting that the prescribed COVID-19 safety protocol is being followed, Tirupur Subramaniam said, â€śWe are happy with the governmentâ€™s decision to reopen theatres and we are prepared to implement the prescribed COVID-19 safety norms.â€ť Apart from the occupancy and social distancing norms, he assured that all the staff have received two doses of vaccine.
Speaking on similar lines, Valiappan also noted that the theatre staff have received both the doses of vaccine. â€śWe were also ready to provide assistance to the staff in Kamala Cinemas, who required help to get COVID-19 vaccination,â€ť he told TNM.