However, the fine levied on the theatre is just Rs 5,000 and this led to many people on social media questioning the efficacy of rules.

People inside Kasi theatre in ChennaiImage credit: Twitter/Mugilan Chandrakumar
Flix CORONAVIRUS Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 16:03

Chennai police on Wednesday booked owners of the popular Kasi theatre in Ashok Nagar for allowing more than 50 percent occupancy at a screening of Vijay’s ‘Master’. The much awaited Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi starrer, was released in many states across the country on Wednesday and witnessed massive crowds in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The theatre management has been booked under section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease and causing danger to life) of the Indian Penal Code. Visuals from inside the theatre showed people occupying the majority of the seats in clear violation of COVID-19 regulation norms like physical distancing. Many are not wearing masks at all.

However, the fine levied on the theatre is just Rs 5,000 and this led to many people on social media questioning the efficacy of rules.

The movie Master, starring Vijay, Vijay Sethupathi and Malavika Mohanan in lead roles is directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. Though the movie was slated to be released last April, it was postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Large crowds were witnessed at various theatres in Chennai even before the release, to buy movie tickets. TNM has earlier reported massive crowd queued up without following physical distancing or without masks, in front of multiple theatres including Rohini in Koyambedu and Ganga theatre in Kolathur, to get the tickets.

The Tamil Nadu government recently allowed 100% occupancy in theatres. This decision came after actors Vijay, Simbu and theatre associations approached Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami requesting him that the only way the industry can cope with the pandemic is if theatres are allowed to function at full occupancy. However, this move by the government was met with much criticism from the public and medical experts.

The government however was forced to go back on this order after the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Madras High Court intervened. The MHA wrote to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary pointing out that the state government’s order to allow 100% occupancy is in contradiction to the Unlock guidelines issued by the MHA in October and directed the state government to withdraw its order.  The Madras High Court too criticised the state, following which, the state took back its order on January 8.

Master’s was also released in Kerala on Wednesday, as the first film to be screened after the theatres were reopened following the pandemic.

Watch visuals from Kerala theatre:

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