Millennium Post

Low turnout forces single-screen theatres to down shutters

Low turnout forces single-screen theatres to down shutters

Kolkata: Citing low audience turnout as reason, several popular single-screen cinema halls in the city, which resumed business mid-October, have now decided to bring down the shutters and wait till the situation improves.

The iconic Priya Cinema in south Kolkata has said that it will suspend all shows indefinitely from November 20 "as very few people are watching shows amid the pandemic".

"The situation is not very encouraging at this juncture. We can't run the show with such low audience count. Electricity charges and recurring establishment charges have to be paid. We have to wait till the situation improves...cannot specify a time frame," Arijit Dutta, the owner of Priya Cinema, said on Friday.

There has not been any big release of late to draw the cinemagoers, Dutta said.

"One big banner Bengali release in Christmas won't be able to salvage the situation. We need more content-rich films that have the capacity to draw audience," Dutta said.

Satadeep Saha, a prominent film distributor and one of the owners of Ajanta cinema, rued that some shows had just four to five people in attendance.

"From screening Sushant Singh Rajput films to latest puja releases featuring Bengali stars, we tried every means, but could not run any film after a week. At times, a show was attended by not more than four-five people. Together, the number of viewers on a day didn't go beyond 25-30," he said.

Saha said he had information that three other single screens under his distribution chain would also stop functioning from Friday.

Another well-known single-screen theatre in the city, Menoka, also announced that it would suspend shows from November 20, given the poor turnout.

Several cinema halls in the city and its suburbs are, however, playing Soumitra Chatterjee-starrer 'Sanjhbati', as a tribute to the legendary actor, who died on November 15.

Leena Gangopadhyay, the director of the film, said, "Our decision to release the film again has not been prompted by business reasons. It is our tribute to Soumitrada."

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