Finally !! Cinemas have reopened in India However with barely any new films being released coupled with the public hesitant to take risks because of the pandemic, Cinema owners have an uphill task before they step out of the woods . Movies weave magic and Cinemas at one time were considered the –‘to be’ place- to the extent that there are stories of how people lined up Cinema halls with their bedding to book tickets for – Mughal-e-Azam – just to catch the first day first show! This craze continued over the decades till – Television challenged the supremacy which was further dented by VHS and later by cable TV – these alternatives ate into the share of the movie magic – Cinemas.

Soon came Zee /Star Tv/Sony and multiple channels if this was not enough, before long single theatre owners had to make way for Multiplexes. However with all the above entertainment options coupled with the steep ticket rates, the crowd in Multiplexes thinned and collections dwindled. Viewers came in only for Blockbusters or chosen movies which justified their spend. Cinemas were definitely on their edges to survive. Year 2020 saw a new challenge for Cinema Owners in the form of the pandemic. Despite the odds the till now they were doing either well or breaking even, depending on which movie graced their cinema hall. A hit guaranteed a surge in the crowds at the ticket window and flop meant the crowd trickled in at their personal whims. Yet they managed to survive with positive balance sheet at the closing of the financial year.

But today Cinemas are fighting one of their worst battles, they are not only shaken by the pandemic but also a new competitor – the OTT Platform. This new option was the biggest solace to all those sitting in the confines of their home during lockdown- It seems now people cannot do without Netflix, Amazon Prime and other such distractions. The much awaited unlock phase hasn’t brought cheers to the cinema owners, they are little perplexed to see that though bars, restaurants and coffee shops have started seeing their regular crowds ,the cinema halls have not seen the same patronage despite perks such as fifty percent occupancy in cinemas with viewers to skip a seat , an extended interval so that viewers can enjoy their samosa/popcorn and sip their coffee outside the confines of the cinema hall as a precautious measure and the icing on the cake – cheap tickets – It couldn’t get better than this! Yet …. The crowds are missing.

Is it a temporary phase or permanent damage -time alone will be able spell out the real picture. The first acid test to get the crowds back is the much awaited and most talked about movie of the year – Christopher Nolan’s ‘TENET’ releasing all across India this week, cinema owner may just get their smile back on their faces and it could be one more time that the – Cinema magic triumphs above all odds.

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