Actors Puneeth Rajkumar and Kiccha Sudeep expressed their shock and disappointment with the state government’s decision.
The decision to limit occupancy in theatres to 50% has not gone down well with sections of the Kannada film industry. The state government’s decision to do the same came on Friday amid the spurt in COVID-19 cases in Karnataka and invited the ire of many cinema-goers in the state as Twitter saw hashtags: #WeWant100PercentOccupancy and #SaveCinema were trending on Saturday. Many expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision, while some users alleged hypocrisy on part of politicians.
Highlighting the campaigning of politicians for ongoing Assembly elections in states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, and the bye-election in Karnataka’s Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency and Basavakalyan, Maski and Sindagi assembly segments, the users expressed how politicians flouting safety protocols is not an issue amid the surge.
ಕಷ್ಟ ಅಂತ ಬಂದಾಗ ಓಡೋಡಿ 50 ಲಕ್ಷ ಕೊಟ್ರಲ್ಲ ಗುರು
ಅಂತ ಮನುಷ್ಯನ ಸಿನಿಮಾಗೆ ಹಿಂಗೆ ಮಾಡಬಹುದಾ ?
— Sagar Manasu (@SagarManasu)
The state government, in February, with much hesitation, had allowed the cinema halls to run on full occupancy foron a pilot basis. If a spike in COVID-19 cases is observed during that period, the government may roll back the decision, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had told.
Actors Puneeth Rajkumar and Kiccha Sudeep also expressed their shock over the government’s decision on Friday. Puneeth’s film Yuvarathnaa had hit the theatres only on April 1, a day before the order was issued. The actor, while speaking to the media on Friday evening, termed the decision “unfair”. The clip was shared by another actor Dhananjaya on Twitter. “I am equally concerned with the well-being of the people of Karnataka. I would not want any of them to suffer but if they would have informed us earlier, we could have done something,” the actor said.
ಮುಂಚೇನೆ ಹೇಳಿದ್ರೆ ಸಿನಿಮಾ ಬಿಡುಗಡೆ ನ ಮುಂದೂಡ್ತಿದ್ವಲ್ಲ ಸರ್. ಇದು ಅನ್ಯಾಯ ಅಲ್ವ?
— Dhananjaya (@Dhananjayaka)
Meanwhile, Sudeep took to Twitter to express his despondency with the situation. He said the news is a shocker but it is their duty to abide by the government’s decision. The actor wished strength for the team of Yuvarathnaa to cope with the situation.
Goin bk to 50% theatrical occupancy is surely a shocker to a film tats jus released. Respecting the govts decision too is our duty, keeping in mind its for a reason. I wsh teamthe best of strength to over come this situation and come out victorious.
— Kichcha Sudeepa (@KicchaSudeep)
Members of Karnataka Exhibitors’ Association, Producers’ Association and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce conducted a meeting in their Bengaluru office on Saturday.
Karnataka Producers’ Association President GK Ramakrishna told TNM that they are not against the decision but a prior notice would have been beneficial. “If we were told earlier by either the Health Minister or Chief Minister, we would have closed down our businesses and reopened when things had gotten settled. Yuvarathnaa’s makers invested so much money in making the film. The decision will sabotage the film’s success,” he said. He added that once the films have released, they have to bear the brunt of issues like piracy and this sudden decision will affect the business badly.
Ramakrishna also said that the members of the Exhibitors’ Association, Producers’ Association and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce have requested to meet Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and attempt to explain their plight. “We wish to bring to his notice the issues we are facing due to the sudden decision,” he said.
In February, the Union government gave a nod for theatres to operate on full occupancy but the state government had been reluctant to do so. Members of the film industry had then protested on Twitter as many big banner films were scheduled to release in the coming months. Moreover, the theatre owners were also demanding full occupancy after experiencing lean business for over a year due to the pandemic. The state government eventually allowed full occupancy for four weeks.
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