As the central and state governments have allowed cinema halls to open after the long pandemic in the second week of October, no such halls in South Dinajpur, especially in Balurghat, have been able to resume business in lack of audience.
It is learnt that the Rupakatha Cinema Hall in Gangarampur opened on the first day with only two people. Owners of three more big cinema halls in the district did not open their halls at all due to fear of financial losses and mechanical faults.
Given the Covid pandemic and the lockdown, all activities in the entertainment world had come to a grinding halt on 15 March.
Deepak Kumar Gun, the owner of Rupakatha Cinema Hall in Gangarampur, said that they have opened the hall following the guidelines issued by the health department and the government. He, however, added that they had only two audience on the first day they started the show, while the situation was same even after one week of the resumption.
“We are screening old movies as new movies are not being released. We need new films to bring the market back on track,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that these cinema halls in Balurghat and Gangarampur are well known for their crowd on normal days.
“Movie lovers like to watch movies during the festive season, but this time around, the halls are still closed or empty. I like to watch movies in the halls, but given the situation, I am afraid to go to watch a movie. After all, we love ourselves more than any other thing,” a local in Balurghat said.
On the other hand, one of the biggest movie halls in Balurghat, the Satyajit Mancha, was scheduled to reopen on Thursday, but it could not do so due to a mechanical fault in the equipment there, it is learnt.
“The cleaning process is going on for the last few days and it is being disinfected. The hall has been closed for about seven months and there was a problem with the equipment,” the manager of the Satyajit Mancha, Babai Dey, said.
The Kalyani Hall in Balurghat town also faced a similar problem, while the owner of the hall is not willing to open it for fear of financial losses. A staff there said that the Kalyani Hall will reopen only after the situation normalises, “may be next year.”