Iconic Kolkata single-screens Priya Cinema, Menoka indefinitely shuttered over low footfall

Priya Cinema and Menoka in south Kolkata suspended all shows indefinitely from 20 November, citing a lack of big releases and 'very few people' coming to theatres.

Press Trust of India November 21, 2020 11:00:26 IST
Iconic Kolkata single-screens Priya Cinema, Menoka indefinitely shuttered over low footfall

Representational Image. News18

Citing low audience turnout as the reason, several popular single-screen cinema halls in Kolkata, which resumed business mid-October, have now decided to bring down the shutters and wait till the situation improves.

The iconic Priya Cinema in south Kolkata has said that it will suspend all shows indefinitely from 20 November "as very few people are watching shows amid the pandemic."

"The situation is not very encouraging at this juncture. We can't run the show with such low audience count. Electricity charges and recurring establishment charges have to be paid. We have to wait till the situation improves... cannot specify a time frame," Arijit Dutta, the owner of Priya Cinema, told Press Trust of India on Friday.

There has not been any big release of late to draw the cinemagoers, Dutta said.

"One big banner Bengali release in Christmas won't be able to salvage the situation. We need more content-rich films that have the capacity to draw audience," Dutta said.

Satadeep Saha, a prominent film distributor and one of the owners of Ajanta cinema, rued that some shows had just four to five people in attendance.

"From screening Sushant Singh Rajput films to latest puja releases featuring Bengali stars, we tried every means, but could not run any film after a week. At times, a show was attended by not more than four-five people. Together, the number of viewers on a day didn't go beyond 25-30," he said.

Saha said he had information that three other single screens under his distribution chain would also stop functioning from Friday.

Another well-known single-screen theatre in the city, Menoka, also announced that it would suspend shows from 20 November, given the poor turnout.

Several cinema halls in the city and its suburbs are, however, playing Soumitra Chatterjee-starrer Sanjhbati, as a tribute to the legendary actor, who died on 15 November.

Leena Gangopadhyay, the director of the film, said, "Our decision to release the film again has not been prompted by business reasons. It is our tribute to Soumitrada."

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