Festive season comes early for cinema halls in Mumbai as they resume operations after a year…
By Rodrigues C
Yo, UK! Looks like the good times are back in Mumbai. Covid cases are the lowest since the pandemic started and theatres have reopened after almost a year, which is a breather for the film industry. With most restrictions being relaxed in Mumbai itself, film folks are expecting Bollywood life, as we know it, to return to normal. Diwali parties, which make national news here because of their oodles of glamour, may also be back.
Minutes after it was declared that cinema halls in Mumbai could re-open to 50 per cent capacity on October 22, production houses of at least 14 much delayed films (see box below) started announcing their release dates. Yes, theatres in other parts of India have been open since a while but there were only two Bollywood releases during this period.
Production houses are upbeat about the cinema hall openings.
On Day One, INOX, a multiplex chain, did something that was unheard of in recent times. It organised free screening(s) of movies between 9am and 10am all over Maharashtra. On October 25, actors Salman Khan and Aayush Sharma launched the trailer of their upcoming film, ‘Antim: The Final Truth’ in the famous Gaiety-Galaxy cinemas. On the other hand, the picture for the those running these cinemas may be not as rosy as the producers and actors. Ever since the lockdown started, theatres have been facing huge losses. Dozens of these cinema houses won’t be able to restart their business due to their dwindling finances.
Many of Mumbai’s 259 multiplexes and 65 single screens didn’t even open on October 22 when the little known Pratik Gandhi starrer ‘Bhavai’ released. In fact, the live screening of the India-Pakistan T20 cricket match that was oganised by many cinema halls on October 24 had a bigger audience. Adhyayan Suman’s ‘Bekhudi’, which released yesterday (October 29), is being screened in only one cinema hall in Mumbai; one show per day. Now, all eyes will be on Akshay Kumar’s ‘Sooryavanshi’ the following weekend, which is guaranteed to rake in big moolah.
Though the opening of cinema halls may be the biggest news for Bollywood, for the rest of India, the biggest news coming out of Bollywood is Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan’s arrest for possession of drugs on October 3.
Aryan has been making headlines after he was detained on a cruise ship off Mumbai on October 2. So far, SRK, has refrained from issuing a statement or speaking to the army of media men, who have been camping outside his suburban pad. New revelations, twists and turns have become a daily occurrence in the case, what with members of Maharashtra’s ruling coalition as well the opposition BJP, which is in power at the centre, are trading barbs. On October 28, after several attempts, Aryan was finally granted bail by the Bombay High court.
Since his arrest, Aryan’s several court appearances were acting as cannon fodder for Indian news outlets. Now that he’s been granted bail, this will stop along with the intense scrutiny and the daily instances of character assassinations by the media. With Diwali a few days away, Aryan’s bail couldn’t have come at a better time. As for celebrations by SRK, Bollywood, theatre owners and the thousands associated with the film industry, it doesn’t get bigger than this.
*Yesterday (October 29), Kannada cinema star and TV host Puneeth Rajkumar, the youngest of five children of matinee idol Dr Rajkumar, died following a massive heart attack after a two-hour workout.
The 46-year-old, who began his career as a child artist in movies such as ‘Thayige Thakka Maga’ and ‘Bhagyavantha’, won the Best Child Actor National Award for ‘Bettada Hoovu’. He debuted as a lead in the 2002 film ‘Appu’, later giving us hits such as ‘Abhi’, ‘Maurya’, ‘Ajay’, ‘Prithvi’, ‘Jackie’ and ‘Arasu’. On TV, he hosted the first two seasons of the show ‘Kannada Kotyadhipati’, the Kannada version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ as well as ‘Family Power’.
Known as ‘Powerstar’, Rajkumar left behind a wife and two daughters
Upcoming Bollywood releases
November 5 – ‘Sooryavanshi’ (Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif)
November 19 – ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’ (Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji)
November 26- ‘Satyamev Jayate 2’ (John Abraham, Divya Khosla Kumar)
December 3 – ‘Tadap’ – An Incredible Love Story’ (Ahan Shetty, Tara Sutaria)
December 10 – ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ (Ayushmann Khurrana, Vaani Kapoor)
December 24- ‘83’ (Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone)
December 31 – ‘Jersey’ (Shahid Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur)
January 14 – ‘Radhe Shyam’ (Prabhas, Pooja Hegde)
January 21 – ‘Prithviraj’ (Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Manushi Chillar)
February 14 – ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ (Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor)
February 25 – ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ (Ranveer Singh, Shalini Pandey)
March 4 – ‘Bachchan Pandey’ (Akshay Kumar, Kriti Sanon, Jacqueline Fernandez)
March 18 – ‘Shamshera’ (Ranbir Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Vaani Kapoor)
March 25 – ‘Bhool Bhulaiya 2’ (Tabu, Kartik Aaryan and Kiara Advani)
April 29 – ‘MayDay’ (Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Rakul Preet)
May 6 – ‘Heropanti 2’ (Tiger Shroff, Kriti Sanon)
August 11 – ‘Raksha Bandhan’ (Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar)