May 16, 2021

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Maharashtra govt’s COVID curbs are like ‘speed-breaker’; hopeful of 2021 becoming blockbuster year: Inox Leisure

Multiplex major on Tuesday said recent curbs in Maharashtra are much like a “speed-breaker” in its growth journey and expressed hope that 2021 will be a blockbuster year due to pent up demand despite rising coronavirus cases in the country. “The revival process of the cinema industry had begun, and the recent curbs are much like a speed-breaker in the journey, which we shall surpass soon in a month’s time. Performances of movies like Roohi and Godzilla Vs Kong showed us that audiences are willing to turn up in big numbers for new and good quality content, even after an elongated lockdown which we saw last year,” Alok Tandon, CEO of Inox Leisure Ltd, told .

Thanks to a huge pent-up demand and a stellar line up of movies, Tandon said 2021 is destined to be a “blockbuster year for us, and we are still certain about it”.

In the current situation, he said hopes are pinned on the rapid and widespread vaccination drive, which it expects would arrest the surge in cases.

The multiplex industry has been one of the worst impacted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The government allowed cinema halls across the country to operate at full capacity from February 1 with adherence to COVID safety protocols.

Prior to that, multiplexes and cinema halls were operating at 50 per cent sitting capacity. Multiplexes and cinema halls were closed for almost seven months and reopened in October last year.

Tandon said each region in the Indian market has its own significance in the business ecosystem.

“While we understand the gravity of the COVID situation in Maharashtra, we are extremely optimistic about the upcoming content and turnouts in the markets dependent on movies in other Indian languages, especially Southern markets…

“The consumer behaviour that we witnessed across the country in the last two months was phenomenal and pretty similar to the pre-COVID days in Southern markets, which gives us the confidence required for a drastic turnaround,” he said.

On Tuesday, the daily rise in new coronavirus infections in India remained above 90,000 for the third consecutive day taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally of cases to 1,26,86,049.

On Monday, the country recorded an all-time high of 1,03,558 new coronavirus cases in a single day.

The Maharashtra government, on Sunday, announced a weekend lockdown and night curfews during the weekdays from Monday to April 30, in addition to a slew of other restrictions like closure of private offices, theatres and salons to curb the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The Retailers Association of India (RAI), on Monday, termed measures announced by the Maharashtra government to combat the surge in COVID cases in the state as ‘retail lockdown’ and said shutting of retail businesses other than essentials will impair the ability of businesses to survive.