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Indian cinemas reopen after being in darkness for months due to virus | Entertainment




By SHEIKH SAALIQ Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) Seven months after dark on screens, cinemas reopened on Thursday across much of India with mostly old titles on the marquee, a sign of the country’s efforts to return to the normal while the rate of coronavirus infections slows but also roadblocks that remain.

The return to theaters comes as India records the world’s highest number of daily cases and is expected to soon top the global list in terms of the total number of reported infections, overtaking the United States. But trends also suggest that the spread is starting to slow.

Nearly 10,000 cinemas closed in mid-March when the government imposed restrictions to fight the virus, which has ravaged India, killing more than 110,000 people. Cinemas are among the latest public places to reopen a hugely symbolic movement in a country known the world over for lavish productions pumped up by its Bollywood film industry.

Each year, the $ 2.8 billion juggernaut produces more than 2,000 films that feature intricate dance routines, chants and dramatic castings, serving to unite a diverse nation of 1.4 billion people. The success of the industry over the years has incorporated cinema into contemporary Indian culture and has been a boon to the economy which, since the start of the pandemic, has seen its slowest growth on record.

But even if theaters reopen, the cinema has still not bounced back. Reeling from zero box office returns in this pandemic year, Indian filmmakers have so far failed to line up any new big-ticket releases and have pushed the films they’ve made straight to streaming platforms in line like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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