“If Government doesn’t act now, this pandemic will mark the end of theatres,” : Sohan Roy


Goa Khabar:Among various industries that came crashing down due to COVID-19, the entertainment industry received the hardest blow and came to a standstill overnight. Before the Pandemic struck the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry was expected to cross Rs 2.4 trillion (US$34 billion) by 2022, at a CAGR of 10%. However, the new study by CRISIL states that the Indian M&E industry’s revenue will reduce by 16% or Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 1.3 lakh crore in the current financial year, severely impacting the profitability of the M&E sector. Many people who have been working behind the scenes, especially the technical and production staff have been going through a much harder time, struggling to make ends meet. Movie theatres were the first ones to shut down during the earliest days of the Pandemic as part of the Government’s precautionary measure to curb public gathering.

Dr. Sohan Roy, Director of the movie DAM 999, CEO of UAE based Aries Group of Companies and the owner of AriesPlex Multiplex theatre in Trivandrum, Kerala, shared his concerns about the future of theaters in case the condition prevails any longer. He tries to enlighten the Government about the threats theaters are facing now and will meet in the post- COVID era if the Government fails to acts soon and extend help to the entertainment industry. “Considering public health, it was a necessary step taken by the Government to close down theatres temporarily. Now that everyone’s pockets are empty, there is a limit for theatre owners to pay the bills, support employees, and production staff single-handedly,” he said. He also stated that one-third of the entertainment industry’s revenue goes to the Government, hence it is their responsibility to take care of the industry during these uncertain times.

Sohan not just pointed out the threats but also came out with potential steps the Government can follow to save the industry. “Government can go easy on the bills and monthly payments by freezing or suspending them temporarily.  The rental charges applicable should be canceled, or arrangements should be made in a way that when future taxes come in. This way, the amount can be recovered, and the dues can be cleared. Loans can be granted. Existing bank loans and moratorium can be extended without interest, and every possible subsidy should be given.” Dr. Roy points out.

He states that the industry is not asking the Government to get money from some other source. But just to set apart a portion of whatever the Government gained from the industry for saving it for the future mutual benefit of both the parties.

“This is the right time for the Government to support. If the aid isn’t extended now, there won’t be many theatres existing after the crisis,” adds Roy in sheer concern on behalf of the entire entertainment industry.