The resurgent pandemic has once again cast a dark shadow over the economic revival of the Malayalam film industry.
Nearly 60% of the 720 screens across the State started downing its shutters from Monday onwards in view of the fresh curbs imposed by the authorities and the lack of new releases following the worsening COVID-19 situation, according to the estimates by the Film Exhibitors’ United Organisation of Kerala (FEUOK).
“With second shows off the air in view of the new restrictions, the collections have been hit badly. A few theatres in the city limits may run a show or two for a few more days while the rest would have no other option but to stop screening,” said K. Vijayakumar, president of FEUOK.
Stating that the rising pandemic fear promoted the family audience to stay away from cinemas, G. Suresh Kumar, president of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, said that there would be no new releases till the second week of May in view of the holy month of Ramadan.
“The collections did not reach the expected levels for films released on the occasion of Vishu festival following the pandemic situation,” he said.
B. Rakesh, treasurer of the Kerala Film Producers’ Association (KFPA), said the movies like Chaturmukham and Nayattu were running reasonably well when the pandemic situation took a worse turn. “The shooting of some of the movies has also been cancelled in view of the health crisis. Producers will not be ready to release their films at this point of time. Many expected releases, including big budget movies may be delayed further,” he said.
Mr. Suresh Kumar said that the Film Chamber had asked the KFPA to ensure the pandemic protocol at shooting locations. People should be permitted only after carrying out COVID-19 tests. Mr. Rakesh said that the association had informed the members that it was not an ideal situation for film shooting. “However, we have not stopped anyone from continuing with the production work. But they have to strictly abide by the pandemic protocol,” he said.
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