Milap Zaveri: I don’t understand the step-motherly treatment of the government towards cinemas


As cinemas don’t feature in Unlock 4.0 guidelines, there’s an understandable outcry in the showbiz sector. Filmmaker Milap Zaveri says, like many others, he also expected the cinemas, which have been shut since March, to get a go ahead this month and is rather taken aback by the government’s decision.

“I’m completely dumfounded. I feel that if gyms, restaurants, malls and metros, markets and religious places are allowed to open, why not cinemas? I just find it to be so sad that cinemas are being given a step motherly treatment. Personally, I’d feel safer in a cinema than in a flight,” says the Satyameva Jayate (2018) director.

Further elaborating his point, Zaveri says that in an aircraft there’s is no scope of social distancing.

“But in cinemas, you can leave seats in between, people face one direction and don’t talk to each other. With all the protocols in place, we can watch a movie in a theatre,” he reasons. 

Highlighting how the sector is crumbling under financial stress, the director says there are lakhs of people whose livelihoods have been affected in the last five and a half months of lockdown.

“Especially, singles screens have been really struggling. As it is they get fewer films. If films release, it’ll resurrect and keep cinemas alive. But if you don’t start them, how’s that possible? I hope the government pays attention to the problems and not turn a blind eye,” he says.

Zaveri points out how cinemas in so many countries have restarted and not a single case of Covid-19 has been reported where someone got infected after visiting a cinema.

“I hope more people from the film industry, the big stars come out and voice their opinion. While OTT is a great medium and some films have no choice but to release on the web, eventually cinema watching is an experience which isn’t going to replace anything else,” he concludes.


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