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Covid effect

Shutdown spectre for single-screen halls along EM Bypass

Jaya Cinema and Mini Jaya in Lake Town had shut down temporarily after a fire broke out on their premises in July 2021

Showli Chakraborty | Published 01.04.22, 11:56 AM
Arati cinema in Baguiati has shut down permanently.

Arati cinema in Baguiati has shut down permanently.

Picture by Showli Chakraborty

After suffering massive losses due to the pandemic, several single-screen cinema halls east of the EM Bypass may become history.

Jaya Cinema and Mini Jaya in Lake Town had shut down temporarily after a fire broke out on their premises in July 2021. They have not reopened after that. Given that these were two of the few single screens that exhibited top grade films, residents in the neighbourhood are still hoping the hall would get back in business.

The hall owners however have a different tale to tell. “We had closed down for renovation as the projector rooms were damaged in the fire. We were even thinking of reopening last year during Durga puja but then we cancelled the plans. As of now, Jaya and Mini Jaya will remain closed. We haven’t decided if this is the final curtain call,” Monojit Banik, owner of Jaya Cinemas, told The Telegraph Salt Lake.

Baguiati’s Arati cinema and Binodini cinema had reopened briefly after the first lockdown but things took an unfavourable turn with the second wave of Covid which led to a dip in the business.

Srinivas Ghosh, owner of Arati cinema, said: “Barely 10-12 people would turn up for shows during the second phase of the lockdown. We could not even recover electricity and maintenance costs,” he said. “Under the circumstances, it became difficult to pay the staff. So we have decided to shut down the hall permanently.”

Binodini, another popular haunt for movie-goers in the area, will also not reopen. “The cinema hall shall soon be handed over to a local promoter, who is going to build a shopping mall here. The hall will not open again,” said a spokesperson.

Other halls in the area such as Ragini in Beliaghata, and Chetna and Narendra in Dum Dum have also been declared shut till further notice. The Telegraph Salt Lake tried to contact their offices but no one was available for comments. These halls have been shut for more than two years now.

“With the advent of OTT platforms and individual subscription systems, people prefer individual viewing or plan sharing modes with friends and families,” said Ghosh of Arati Cinema. “With a single subscription, the whole family can watch a latest release together. Also, even if the film is in the hall for two or three weeks it releases on OTT soon after. People just wait for the OTT release and don’t come to the halls anymore. With the rising prices of things around us, this was our only way to cut losses,” added Ghosh.

Write to us at saltlake@abpmail.com

 

Last updated on 01.04.22, 12:23 PM
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