Vijay’s Master has been welcomed with a huge cheer from all quarters in the Tamil movie industry. This will be the first big release since the lockdown in March. The announcement on 50 per cent occupancy hasn’t deterred the producers as well as theatre owners in the state. Tirupur Subramaniam, President of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association told DT Next, “Master’s release will put the Tamil movie industry back on track. The movie release frenzy will not fade away with this film. There will be a steady flow of film releases throughout the year from now on.” He said that the pandemic has paved the way for the streamlining of online booking in major cities in the state. “Earlier in Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchy, people would still buy tickets from counters despite having an option of booking tickets via online portals. Now, 95 per cent of people have booked through online portals,” he said. However, in interior Tamil Nadu, people are still queuing up for tickets without wearing a mask or maintaining social distancing. Reacting to this Subramaniam said, “People also queue up on roads to see Kamal Haasan’s campaign down south. No social distancing is being followed nor everybody is seen wearing a mask. Why alone talk about theatres and movie-going culture?” M Vinodd, movie buff had to wait till Tuesday evening to book a ticket in one of the city multiplexes. “The servers kept crashing and I managed to get a ticket only at the last minute in a front seat. I don’t mind watching the film again, seated in a middle row next week.”
Ruban Mathivaanan, Managing Director of GK Cinema said that even with 50 per cent occupancy, theatre owners are happy with the way things have started this year. “Though we have opened the theatre since Deepavali, the footfall wasn’t great because of the content. We needed a star and a content-oriented film to bring them back to theatres. We are happy with 50 per cent occupancy because something is still better than nothing and there are no seats available till Sunday,” he revealed. However, he told us that constant policing is required. “We need to ask people to keep sanitising and wear masks. The audience needs to be constantly kept in check to see if they are following the protocols,” he added.