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Millennium Post

More single-screen cinema halls to shut down post Covid

Kolkata: People associated with cinema halls in the state are sceptical that more single-screen halls will close down post the pandemic. The current number of single-screen cinema halls in the state stands at 220 only and with movie halls still under lockdown, the hall owners are finding it difficult to pay salaries of the staff associated with them.

"We are still in the dark about when cinema halls will open. We have urged the Centre to allow us to open cinema halls from July 15. But there is no response yet," said a cinema hall owner who runs three cinema halls in the city.

Another owner in North Kolkata said according to the feedback that we have got, there are very slim chances of movie halls reopening before August 15. "Some of us believe that the number will reduce to 175 in six months to one year," he said. In the last few years, several single-screen cinema halls in the city have closed down in different parts of the city. Apart from Paradise, New Empire and Regal there is not a single screen movie hall open in and around Esplanade area in Central Kolkata which was once upon a time the hub of movie halls. Halls like Lighthouse, Globe, Metro, Chaplin, Elite, Roxy all have shut down.

In South Kolkata, five cinema halls are presently open — Priya, Basusree, Indira, Navina and Bijoli. The closure list includes Ujjala, Bharati, Purna, Aleya etc. In Hatibagan in North Kolkata, a number of halls have closed down in the last decade.

Several cinema halls have also suffered damages due to Amphan.

"We have undertaken repair work. But with no business for nearly four months, we are staring at a bleak future post-Amphan. We have to maintain norms of physical distancing, sanitising and other parameters after halls reopen. So business prospects are not at all bright," said a cinema hall owner in South Kolkata.

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