The government has given the nod to open doors of all cinema halls in the country and welcome in movie lovers who have been deprived of their favourite pastime for several months. After remaining deserted for quite a while, many halls in the capital are preparing to reopen today.
Hall owners, however, are still in a dilemma. While many have decided to follow the authority's decision, more than five owners are yet to finalise their steps for opening.
Halls that are opening from today are taking proper precautions. The maintenance staff and cleaners are taking extra care to ensure safety and hygiene -- starting from entrance to seats and ticket counters.
Preparations for reopening the capital's Ananda Cinema Hall are in full swing since this morning. Electricians are busy taking care of technical issues, and cleaners are working to make every inch of their premises spotless.
"We have a total of 35 staffers. Most of them were on leave since the beginning of the pandemic," said Alauddin, the hall's manager. "They have all been asked to come back and resume their duties. We're very happy that we'll finally be open again."
The film "Shahoshi Hero Alom" -- starring Ashraful Alom Saeed, best known as Hero Alom -- is releasing at Ananda today.
Chhanda Cinema Hall, located right next to Ananda, is also preparing to reopen. The cleaning staff were seen working at the location this morning. "Rajdhanir Raja", starring Shakib Khan, will hit the screen of this hall today.
"We've been working relentlessly after we got to know the government's decision," said Liton, a security staffer of the theatre. "We were starting to think of alternative ways to survive, but now, I see hope."
New Market's Balaka Cinema Hall, however, is still closed till further notice. The authorities have not taken any steps yet to reopen.
"We have decided to observe the situation for a few more days," said Shahin Hossain, the hall's manager.
A similar scenario was seen at Modhumita Cinema Hall. "I don't think we'll have many visiting the halls now," said theatre owner Iftekhar Uddin. "There are no new releases and staffers are also on leave. I don't want to incur more losses by opening the doors at this moment."
Mia Alauddin, senior vice-president of Film Exhibitors' Association and owner of Sathi Cinema Hall, said he has decided to reopen today with "Shahoshi Hero Alom".
Star Cineplex, the one located inside Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, will be functional from October 23, informed their senior manager. Their screens at Shyamoli Square will also remain closed until further notice.
Ovishar Cinema and Neptune Cinema Hall, located on Hatkhola Road, will also remain closed. "The owners have not decided to reopen the halls yet," informs security staffer Mahbubur Rahman Khan.
Meanwhile, Chitra Mahal movie theatre, located on English Road, will be opening today with "Shahoshi Hero Alom". One of seven screens will welcome moviegoers today at Blockbuster Cinemas inside Jamuna Future Park.
Most movie theatres outside the capital, however, have not decided to reopen yet. Many hall owners believe old films are their only option at the moment.
This scenario has put film producers in a new crisis. At least 22 films have received clearance from Bangladesh Film Censor Board. However, they will not be able to release their productions if halls remain closed.
"I thank the government for this decision," shares popular actor Shakib Khan. "I'm very excited to see my posters outside ticket counters and hopefully the day is not far."
Bangladesh Cholochitro Shilpi Samity General Secretary Zayed Khan has also positively embraced the decision. "The authorities have taken this decision and I respect them," he said.
Bangladesh Film Directors' Association General Secretary Badiul Alam Khukon and Bangladesh Film Producers and Distributors Association President Khorshed Alam Khasru said they are also content with the decision.