Exclusive! Manoj Bajpayee on 50 per cent occupancy in theatres: I want normalcy but it will only be possible when the vaccine reaches everyone – Eagles Vine

Just a few months ago, Bollywood and theatres were hoping to return to normalcy. Releases of several films were lined up, and everyone–from theatre owners and producers to cine-lovers–was happy with the new norms curated to make movie-making a safe experience to look forward to. However, the second wave of Covid-19 threatens to bring everything to a standstill yet again. Theatres have been hit hard due to a night curfew imposed in Maharashtra, and the fifty per cent occupancy rule that has been brought into effect again, and filmmakers have already started rescheduling their film’s release date.

Manoj Bajpayee, who was recently honoured with a National Film Award in the Best Actor category for his performance in ‘Bhonsle’, tested negative for coronavirus a few days ago, after having contracted the virus and self-isolated while being treated. While he is now all charged up to return to the sets and start shooting for his films, he is also concerned about the recent developments that threaten to hit the theatres again. In an exclusive chat with ETimes, the actor discusses it in length. Excerpts:

Due to the rise in Covid-19 cases, theatres are now functioning at 50 per cent occupancy…

Theatres going back to 50 per cent capacity has really saddened everyone from the industry. I personally want theatres to strive. I want parallel entertainment mediums, other than OTT and satellite, to thrive well so that people in the industry have jobs in plenty, and they have various mediums to choose from. There is not only one medium ruling over the industry, because that will not do well for anyone. The theatres should do well. I really want the normalcy to return, which will only be possible when the vaccine reaches everyone and everyone starts behaving responsibly.

Go on…

I want theatres to run on 100 per cent occupancy. However, it’s a call taken by the government authorities as they know better than us. They are looking at the larger picture; all officials are working day and night to control the numbers. People should be responsible and take care of the ongoing situation so that the films that are lined up can release on time. It will be better for each one in the industry.

Manoj Bajpayee

Have you watched any film after the lockdown was eased?

I have watched two films in the theatre–one of them was my film, ‘Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari’ as we were the first ones to release the film after the lockdown was lifted. And the second one that I saw in the theatre was ‘Tenet’.

Manoj Bajpayee

Which films are you currently working on?

The next one-and-a-half years are choc-a-bloc. I am not taking any more narrations as I don’t have dates. All I will do is fulfil my prior commitments in the coming months. And once I am done with it, I will be taking a two to three-month break to rejuvenate myself.


The Times of India

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper and digital news media owned and managed by The Times Group. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, it is ranked 9th in the world by circulation and 3rd in India.

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