Cinema theatres reopen in Kerala with Tamil film 'Master'

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 13 (PTI) Cinema theatres reopenedin Kerala after remaining shut for over 10 months due to COVID-19, with the screening of Tamil movie 'Master' starring Vijay.

The film has been released in over 500 screens across the state, Film Exhibitors United Organisations of Kerala (FEUOK) said.

In most of thetheatres, tickets were sold out within a few hours,theatre owners said.

Many youngsters had queued up to enter the theaters for the first show of the film at 9 am.

In Kochi, vijay fans performed milk 'abhishekam' on a huge cut-out of theactor, who is popular in the state.

Kerala has as many as 670 screens.

Some theatres have not opened on Wednesday due to repair and disinfection works going on, FEUOK General Secretary M C Bobby told PTI.

Projectors, generators and air conditioners were not functioning in some of the theatres and maintenance works had to be taken up, he said.

Only 50 per cent of seats will be occupied in the theatres and only alternate seating arrangements would be allowed to ensure social distancing.

To ensure that there is no overcrowding, in Multiplexes the screening would be at different times.

Though the cafeteria at the theatres would be allowed to function,the eatables cannot be taken inside during screening.

Aries Plus, New Theatre, Nila are among the theatres in which screening was held on the opening day today in the capital city,while some repair works are goingon at a few theatres here.

Malayalam film' Vellam' of Jayasurya will hit the screens next week, while Mohanlal's much-awaited historical war film 'Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham' ( Marakkar: Lion of the Arabian Sea), is slated for release on March 26.

Directed by Priyadarshan and set in the 16th century, the film depicts the battle exploits of Kunjali Marakkar IVthe naval admiral of the Samoothiri.

Kunjali Marakkars organised the first ever naval defense of the Indian coast by defending Portuguese invasion at the Malabar Coast for almost a century.

Theatre owners said the cinemas would strictly comply with the COVID-19 guidelines in the state.

Though there were fears that there would be a lukewarm response during the initial days, however, the response has been overwhelming with 70 per centof tickets being booked till Sunday,Girish Chandran, Managing Director, Sree Padmanabha theatre here said.

The Kerala government has decided to waive entertainment tax for cinemas from January to March 2021 along with 50 per cent reduction in the fixed charges on electricity during the lockdown period since March last year.

The decision was taken after Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce officials met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here.