The country’s cinemas are going to reopen after about seven months, on October 16, subject to the prime minister’s permission and if the Covid-19 situation improves, the Ministry of Information said on Monday.
The announcement is good news for the owners, but it has raised fears, as there are no new films in the pipeline. The owners are worried about what to screen as movies are generally released centering festivals and producers do not want to release them now.
Iftekhar Ahmed Nowshad, managing director of Madhumita Cinema, said, “We have got permission to open cinemas but what will we screen? Why will the audience come? There is no such film to attract viewers. I will not open the cinema with old films.”
Meanwhile, Mia Alauddin, senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Film Exhibitors Association, said he might resume cinemas with old films. In the meantime, if the producers want to release a new film, he will screen it. He thinks it is crucial to start the cinemas now, but he wants to resume the cinema only after ensuring hygiene rules.
Meanwhile, Shamsul Alam, general secretary of the Bangladesh Film Producers and Distributors Association, said several films were awaiting release. I have come to know that many films have been completed. As a date has been set for the opening of the cinemas, everyone will think of releasing films.”
This year there were several big budget movies that were supposed to be released around the festivals, such as Bengali New Year, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. ‘Bidrohi’ starring Shakib Khan, ‘Mission Extreme’ starring Shuvo, Shan starring Siam Ahmed, ‘Bikkhov’ starring Kolkata’s Srabonti and Shanto Khan, ‘Mon Debo Mon Nebo’ starring Apu Biswas were all shelved due to the pandemic.
The producers have no plans to release any of the films at the moment. Sunny Sanwar, the storyteller and director of ‘Mission Extreme’, said, “The film was prepared for release on Eid ul-Fitr but I could not release it.
Now, I am not waiting for any festival. I will release it if the number of visitors increases. However, it will not be on October 16.” He said Mission Extreme is in two parts. The first one will be released depending on the size of audiences after the opening of the cinemas.
The sequel will be released on a festival next year. The film ‘Shahenshah’, produced by Shapla Media and directed by Shamim Ahmed Rony, was released just before Covid-19, on March 8. The film, starring Shakib Khan and Nusrat Faria, was released in most cinemas in the country at that time. Within two weeks of its release, all cinemas in the country were closed.
Movie Poster. Photo: Collected
Director of the film Shamim Ahmed Rony said the cinemas where the film was released still have posters and banners of Shahenshah. The cinemas will resume the screening of the movie.
Selim Khan, the head of Shapla Media and the producer of the film, said, “We have a number of films ready such as August 1975, Bidrohi and Bikkhov. I have not finalised yet when these will be released. I will gradually release all after the cinemas resume.”
Meanwhile, the shooting of some big budget films have already started. The shooting of Nawab LLB, directed by Ananya Mamun and starring Shakib Khan, is going on at present. Besides, actor Bappi Chowdhury has started shooting for two movies.
Actor Arifin Shuvo is also preparing to act in a new film. Shooting has also started for Operation Sundarbans starring Parimani and Siam.All cinemas in the country have been closed since March 18 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shootings stopped from March 25. Shoots were allowed from June 5 after the shutdown was lifted.