Telangana's Cinematography Minister T Srinivas Yadav on Friday, December 3, clarified that the government has no plans to shut down cinema theatres or impose curbs on occupancy in view of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The announcement comes after some speculation that restrictions may be imposed due to the detection of the variant in India.
After a meeting with Tollywood filmmakers, the minister appealed to people not to believe rumours. He said the government was fully ready to tackle the COVID-19 situation, adding that the public would be free to watch new releases in theatres.
After an uncertain two years for the film industry, a few big-budget films starring popular actors — including SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus RRR starring Ram Charan, Jr NTR, Aliya Bhatt and others — are scheduled for release on Sankranti. Worried about more lockdown restrictions, a group of producers and directors including Rajamouli and producer Dil Raju called on T Srinivas Yadav.
The big wigs of Telugu Cinema, top directors @ssrajamouli, #Trivikram, Producers #NaveenYerneni ,#Chinababu, #DilRaju, @AsianSuniel, #Danayya & #AbhishekNama met with the Cinematography minster Shri @YadavTalasani garu to discuss about the current scenario of industry. #Tollywood pic.twitter.com/lqr7Hl476P— VamsiShekar (@UrsVamsiShekar) December 3, 2021
The minister told reporters that in view of the reports of a possible surge in COVID-19 cases, there were rumours that the government may close down theatres or reduce the occupancy, but he dismissed such speculations. Srinivas Yadav said the film industry suffered badly for nearly two years due to the pandemic and just when it started to recover, fears of Omicron have emerged.
The minister said that, though the state government is allowing screening of all shows with 100% occupancy, crowds at theatres have been thin. However, crowds returned for the release of Nandamuri Balakrishna, Pragya Jaiswal and Jagapathi Babu’s latest film Akhanda, he said.
Producer Dil Raju said that, in the meeting, they also discussed with the minister various issues pertaining to the industry. The minister reportedly promised to convey their views to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.