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Single-window clearance is likely for theatres in a forthcoming model policy

According to an official, the information and broadcasting ministry is developing a model theatre policy in collaboration with all state governments in order to implement a pan-India single-window clearance system and aid with the recovery of the industry, which has been devastated by the covid-led disruptions.

Government data shows that the number of screens has decreased from 12,000 to 8,000 since 2017. The two years of the pandemic saw a more pronounced downward trend. Comparatively, China’s number of cinema screens increased from 10,000 to about 70,000 during that time.

“In the past five to six years, the number of theatres is on a decline. We must reverse this trend. The ministry has asked the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can be opened and the public gets to watch the magic of films in theatres. The Centre will also work with the states to create a model theatre policy to ensure states can adopt and work on the same,” Apurva Chandra, the union secretary for information and broadcasting, addressed a gathering on Tuesday at FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 in Mumbai.

According to Chandra, the government is looking at various models, such as the multiscreen movie theatres with a food court, sports arena, and other amenities that are already becoming common in some parts of India.

To encourage and enable foreign filmmakers shooting in India, the ministry established the Film Facilitation Office as a part of the National Film Development Corp. (NFDC). It provides filmmakers with a single-window clearance mechanism. Invest India is an organisation that assists foreign investors in finding opportunities and choices in India.

Since more and more viewers chose the comfort and convenience of video streaming platforms during the pandemic years, 1,500–2,000 theatres, the majority of which had single screens, have closed their doors, and several more are considering doing the same.

In order to reach an agreement on the key provisions of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Chandra met with a number of members of the industry, including Shibasish Sarkar, president of the Producers Guild of India, Dinesh Vijan, founder of Maddock Films, Apoorva Mehta, CEO of Dharma Productions, R. Balki, Ayan Mukerji, and Gaurav Gandhi.

Piracy and the U/A (unrestricted with caution or parental guidance required for audiences under 12 years) subcategory for film certification are among the problems. There was unanimously positive feedback from the industry participants.

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