Several movie theatres in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are set to reopen for the first time in months on Friday, July 30, as two new Telugu films are set to have theatrical releases. Thimmarusu, starring Satyadev and Priyanka Jawalkar, and Ishq — Not a Love Story, starring Teja Sajja and Priya Prakash Varrier, are among the first significant Telugu movies to release in theatres since the onset of the second wave of COVID-19.
While the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments had allowed theatres to open a few weeks ago as part of curfew relaxations, film exhibitors had postponed reopening, seeking various relaxations from the state government to enhance revenue, and also awaiting the release of new films.
Theatres are opening up with 50% occupancy in Andhra Pradesh, and 100% occupancy in Telangana. With a night curfew from 10 pm to 6 am still in place in Andhra Pradesh, theatres will open accordingly, said film distributor and exhibitor NV Prasad.
With film exhibitors facing huge losses amid the pandemic, and many single-screen theatres shutting down, exhibitors in both states have been seeking various relaxations from the state government, to help mitigate losses.
The Telangana State Film Chamber of Commerce had asked the government to revive parking charges for theatres, waive property tax and minimum electricity charges during the lockdown period amid other demands. On July 20, the Telangana government issued an order allowing single-screen theatres to collect parking charges.
In Andhra Pradesh, film exhibitors have been demanding the government to increase the ceiling on ticket prices. Addressing the media following a meeting of the Andhra Pradesh Film Exhibitors Association in Vijayawada, NV Prasad, who is the former president of the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce before bifurcation, said, “We are hoping the Chief Minister will address exhibitors’ concerns. Unless our problems are addressed soon, many theatres are not in a condition to reopen.” He added that with two small movies releasing on Friday, theatres will reopen accordingly in the state.
Multiplex chain INOX announced that its cinemas will reopen from July 30 at Hyderabad’s GVK One and Maheshwari Parameshwari malls, and that they will be operated by “a 100% vaccinated team.” PVR Cinemas also announced that its theatres will reopen from July 30 in states and union territories that have allowed theatres to reopen, with all of its staff members fully vaccinated.
Several major Telugu films which were lined up for theatrical release from April 2021, like Love Story, Virata Parvam and Tuck Jagadish, had been postponed due to the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases at the time. Narappa, starring Venkatesh and Priyamani, which was scheduled to release in theatres in May, was recently released on the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video.