After neighbouring Maharashtra, the Karnataka government is mulling the proposal of allowing outside food into theatres.
At present, many theatres including all multiplexes, bar consumers from carrying food into the theatres and the food sold inside the premises is usually expensive
“We’ll see how Maharashtra does this. I’ll meet department officials to ensure we can also ease the burden on moviegoers,” BZ Zameer Ahmed, Karnataka’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister said, according to a The Times of India report.
Citizens have welcomed the proposal, who are often forced to buy snacks and soft drinks at a cost much higher than the market price.
"This could be a good step for middle-class movies lovers like me, who don't go to local theatres since multiplexes have better and bigger screens that provide an overall better experience. Sometimes, the cost of popcorn is much more than the movie ticket. Carrying our own food will create a much smaller hole in the pocket this way," Karan Sharma, a real estate professional based in Bengaluru and a regular movie-goer, told TNM.
Another regular movie-goer welcomed the move but added that there should be restrictions on wet food to prevent spilling or inconvenience to others.
“A serving of popcorn for two people costs no less than Rs 300. Carrying our own dry snacks helps a majority of population. A lot of people these days are reluctant to even visit movie theatres for the same reason,” said Sweta Kamble, a content writer working in Bengaluru.
Chickpet MLA and owner of Garuda Mall, Uday Garudachar, acknowledges the problem faced by consumers, stating that a small cup of corn which would cost Rs 10 outside costs Rs 80 inside the theatres.
“Since they cannot do much about the prices set by the shops, as a politician, what they (Maharashtra government) have done is right,” he said.
“As a businessman, you have to keep other things in consideration also like the cost of electricity, the refrigeration, rentals and other costs,” he explained. “From a businessman’s angle, this move may not be welcome but from a politician’s angle, my view is that we want to make food affordable to the people,” he added.
In April 2017, all multiplexes in Bengaluru were ordered to provide clean drinking water for free to customers by a consumer court based on a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order in 2015.
The decision by the Maharashtra government came after the Bombay High Court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), pulled up the state government over the issue.
The petitioner argued that there were no legal or statutory provisions that allowed theatres to stop movie-goers from carrying food and also made an observation that food and water should be sold at regular prices.
The petitioner then further argued that issue affected senior citizens the most, as they cannot consume the “junk food” offered at malls due to health complications.