Few bought tickets to view movies in Delhi's cinema halls, which reopened today with Covid-safety protocols after remaining shut for the last seven months. Unnerved by the lackluster footfall, theatre officials said they hope the turnout would increase over the weekend even with no new movies lined up for release.
At a cinema hall in Delhi's Greater Kailash area only four tickets had been sold for the show at 11:30 AM and only five tickets for the afternoon show at 2:30 PM, for which 150 seats were available.
Saurabh, among those who bought a ticket for the morning show, said, "I have come with a friend to mainly check the kind of precautions they are taking. An old movie is being re-released which I haven't watched yet so I am keen to see it because of the positive reviews."
"I was eagerly waiting for cinema halls to reopen. We have been locked inside for so long; it was beginning to have a psychological impact," said Ajay Anand, who came to buy tickets for watching a movie with his family tomorrow.
Theatre officials said they expected things to go slow at first and look forward to the response over the weekend when all of Delhi's 130 screens are likely to open up for audiences.
PVR, which owns 68 screens in Delhi, has about 500 screens in states that have allowed cinema halls to reopen, including Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Jammu and Kashmir.
From contact-less transactions to thermal scanning and UV sanitisation of food items, such as popcorn, all Covid safety measures were being followed at the theatres NDTV visited.
Cinema halls were allowed to reopened today at 50 per cent capacity and fewer shows - mostly between 12pm to 8pm - as per the revised norms issued under Unlock 5.