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Coronavirus pandemic leaves Kerala film industry reeling

Coronavirus pandemic leaves Kerala film industry reeling

Thiruvananthapuram: The novel coronavirus pandemic has not only hammered the film industry across the globe, but also badly affected the Kerala film industry.

Leading producer Sureshkumar, who is active in the film industry for the past nearly four decades and is the husband of yesteryear actress Maneka and father of national award winning actress Keerthi Suresh, told IANS that this is going to very badly affect not just the Kerala film industry but the global film industry as a whole.

"In Kerala, this is a crisis which according to me will take at least a year to get back to normal," said Sureshkumar.

"A good number of producers in Malayalam films are businessmen and from the diaspora community and with this being a global phenomenon, I doubt what the situation would be when it comes to new films. Will these people take care of their business or would they invest in new films," asked Sureshkumar.

At present there are 4 blockbuster films which were set to be released including films of superstars Mammootty and Mohanlal. The total cost of production of these films is around Rs 200 crores.

Besides there are around 26 films in various stages of production and about half a dozen films that were running in the theatres across the state when movie halls was closed in the second week of March.

"Covid is not like flood and from what we see and hear, this is going to take a long time and until then social distancing and such things will be in place. So one doesn't know, as maybe another 150 crores might be stuck in these 26 films," said another film personality who did not wish to be identified.

One major segment of the film industry are the exhibitors, who own around 625 theatres.

"On a normal day in Kerala the average collection in all the movie halls is around Rs 1.30 crores and to achieve this figure again soon is a distant possibility. We are in deep trouble as we have a very high electricity bill. We wish the government will waive the fixed charges. We are all worried, when will we be able to see our theatres full. It will not happen as people might not return like they used to do," said Santhosh, who owns three theatres in Alappuzha district.

Hugely popular comedian turned character actor Jagdish is staying put at his home in the state capital and is busy playing with his grandchild.

"I am just trying to relive the good times. I have no clue when things will return to normal. Even as I remain positive, I doubt the world film industry will get back to normal quickly. The fear of one's life is always there and hence we will just wait for good times," said Jagdish.

The industry captains are now waiting for things to settle down as they know there is no point in taking up their issues since the entertainment industry will be the last to get government attention.

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