Kolkata, Jul 26 (PTI) With cinema halls still shut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an association of film distributors and producers in West Bengal on Sunday urged all stakeholders of the Bengali film industry to come to the aid of those employed at these theatres.
Piya Sengupta, the president of Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA), said a similar appeal was made to the stakeholders a month ago, but very few have come forward to contribute to the cause.
She also said that single-screen theatre owners and employees are among the hardest hit, and some of them are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
'I am requesting everyone associated with the industry to please come forward and save Bengali cinema and the owners and employees of single-screen theatres,' she said in a Facebook post in Bengali.
Over the past two decades, the number of single-screen theatres in West Bengal has come down to 250 from 865, sources in the EIMPA said.
'Post COVID-19, many of these 250 theatres may not lift shutters,' one of the members of the association said.
Sengupta said many artistes and filmmakers, who have failed to respond to the EIMPA appeal, would be visiting these theatres, after the pandemic ends, to release their films.
'With a heavy heart I am forced to say that despite several appeals very few people have come forward to stand by the workers of single-screen theatres. Today or tomorrow, some of these halls will reopen.
'Interestingly many renowned artistes, directors and producers will forget that they did not come out in support of these people in times of distress when they visit the halls again,' the EIMPA chief said.
Film Federation of India president Firdausal Hasan, when contacted by PTI, said he would make a personal contribution for the cause, but the organisation has to 'cater to the needs of every member of the (film) fraternity across the nation'.
'We have asked our constituent members in each state to be of help to people associated with the film industry at this hour of crisis,' Hasan said.
An office-bearer of West Bengal Motion Picture Artists' Forum said some of its members were raising funds to help the employees of single-screen theatres.
'We have reached out to economically distressed artistes and technicians in the past. We have also raised money for theatre artistes and backstage workers. We will certainly help the cinema hall employees, too,' he said. PTI SUS RMS RMS