In the latest development, the Madras High Court (MHC) on Friday asked the theatres in Tamil Nadu to operate at 50% capacity, overriding the previously issued government order that allowed cinema halls to operate at full capacity. The AIADMK-led Tamil Nadu government issued an order on January 4 allowing theatres to function at 100% capacity after film stars made requests for the provision citing film releases during Pongal. However, the Madurai bench of the Madras HC reversed the government's decision and ordered the film theatres to function at 50% occupancy.
The bench further sought the state government's reply on the matter by January 11 failing which the Court could be forced to issue fresh orders. Earlier on January 4, the government's order allowing theatres to function at 50% capacity read, 'based on the directives of Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Cinemas/theatres/multiplexes were permitted to open from November 10, 2020 with 50% of their seating capacity by following the Standard Operating Procedure in the Government Order fifth read above. Based on the decrease in the COVID-19 cases day by day, the Theatre Owners Association have represented to Government to increase the seating capacity of Cinemas/theatres/multiplexes. Now, therefore the Government hereby permit to increase the seating capacity of Cinemas/theatres/ Multiplexes from existing 50% a to 100%.
A day after Kollywood actor Vijay met Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswami seeking 100% capacity in theatres for his upcoming film 'Master', actor T Silambarasan also made a similar request for his upcoming venture Eeswaran. Both Master and Eeswaran are scheduled for release in theatres during the Pongal holidays - marking the return of Kollywood films to the big screens following the shutdown on the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March last year. As per sources, Silambarasan (Sibmu) is said to have met TN CM Palaniswami seeking full capacity for his upcoming film.
As per The News Minute, 'Thalapathy' Vijay met TN CM EPS to put forth requests to make arrangements in theatres for his upcoming release and sought full attendance to be allowed in theatres during Pongal. The meeting between the two reportedly took place at the CM's residence. At present, the Tamil Nadu government has permitted theatres across the state to function at 50% capacity keeping COVID-19 restrictions in mind.