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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Jharkhand cinemas will reopen on July 27, banking on 'Bell Bottom'

Theatres expect Akshay Kumar film to draw audience, intra-state buses to begin full-fledged operations from Friday

Our Correspondent Ranchi Published 01.07.21, 05:32 PM
Medics collect swab samples of air passengers outside the Birsa Munda International Airport, in Ranchi on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Medics collect swab samples of air passengers outside the Birsa Munda International Airport, in Ranchi on Saturday, June 26, 2021. PTI

Cinema halls in Ranchi are unlikely to resume operations until this month-end even though the state government has allowed their opening with 50 per cent capacity after over two months of lockdown in the wake of the second wave of the pandemic.

While announcing certain relaxations on Wednesday, the Hemant Soren government did not allow inter-state bus services to resume, but intra-state buses have been allowed to start plying. A few buses plied between Ranchi and Jamshedpur on Thursday, but the bulk of the operations are expected to start from Friday.

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Anand Jalan, chairman of the film, art & culture sub-committee of Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said that following discussions with most hall-owners in Ranchi, it has been decided that film screeings will resume from July 27.

“No major films are likely to get released immediately. Akshay Kumar-starrer Bell Bottom is the next big release on July 27. So, that is the time when most of the screens in the capital are expected to sizzle again. Opening halls any earlier will mean unnecessary expense as no one is expecting any immediate footfall," he said.

Jalan said cinema managements would use this time to reorganise logistics and manpower.

Ranchi has around 20 film screens comprising big multiplexes and single-screen theatres. There are 80 movie halls in the state in all. “We are looking at a similar reopening schedule in other towns of the state too,” Jalan said, adding that the business of flim screenning had suffered the most in last year owing successive lockdowns.

An official of Popkorn Cinema, a multi-screen facility at Ratu Road, said, “Per month, our fixed monthly bill is at least Rs 1 lakh. In the last 12 months, the hall barely functioned even for 30 days. Imagine our plight,” he said.

Among the other relaxations announced on Wednesday, bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen with 50 per cent capacity while markets can stay open till 8pm everyday. But the state government will continue with the practice of a complete lockdown over the weekend from 8pm on Saturday till 6am on Monday.

As for bus services, close to 2,000 buses that ply from Ranchi daily are expectd to resume operations from Friday. Krishna Mohan Singh, president of Ranchi Bus Owner’s Association, said, “We will resume from tomorrow (Friday) as everyone was busy today (Thursday) getting the fleet ready for operations.”

On the prescribed protocols, Singh said, “As per our understanding, buses will run to full capacity from Thursday with Covid appropriate norms in place. The state government notification hasn't put a cap on number of passengers. Even if we were to run on 50 per cent capacity, people will suffer as they will have to pay extra in the light of high fuel prices.”

A few eateries of Ranchi began dine-in facilities from Thursday with 50 per cent capacity. Others are expected to open in the next few days. A staffer with Kanha, a restaurant at Morabadi, said, “We have started dine-in operations, but people are still in favour of home delivery. Barely three persons came to our restaurant for lunch. But we got 30 orders for home delivery."

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