Night curfew leaves theatre platforms and cinema halls in Pune empty, again
The return of night curfew has put a stop to holding of cultural programmes and theatre events again. After the state government’s go-ahead to reopen theatres and multiplexes from November 5, 2020, with 50 per cent capacity, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) restricted public movement from 11pm to 6 am from Monday (February 22).
The administration imposed fresh restrictions to check the spread of Covid following a reported spike in positive cases in the city. Play producers have either cancelled the shows or rescheduled it to the afternoon slot. Some have even postponed the events till March 7.
Bhagyashree Desai, producer of Marathi writer Ratnakar Matkari’s popular play ‘Blind Game’, cancelled three scheduled shows in Pune and one in Mumbai this week.
“It is impossible to hold the late-night show with curfew time restrictions as it will be inconvenient for artists, backstage workers and audience. I am not going to schedule any show till next month,” said Desai, who is also founder of Rasik Mohini production house.
“We had bookings for Saturday and Sunday in the slot of 9.30 pm-12.30 am at Balgandharva Rangmandir. Now it stands cancelled. As political programmes are not held during the late-night hours, theatre directors book the slot,” said Sunil Mate, incharge, cultural programmes and auditoriums, PMC.
Some programme coordinators have rescheduled the show to afternoon slot. “The show ‘Ayushyavar Bolu Kahi’ was scheduled to be conducted on Friday night at Balgandharva Rangmandir. It will now be held at Yashwantaro Chavan Natyagruha at 5 pm on Saturday. The show of the play ‘Yada Kadachit’ has been shifted to Sunday afternoon (Yashwantaro Chavan Natyagruha) from Saturday night (Balgandharva Rangmandir),” said Sameer Hampi, SH Enterprises.
“We were hoping that theatres would get permission to operate full house from March 1, but the spike in cases has left us back to square one. Already hit by the lockdown, the night curfew restriction is another blow to the industry,” said Desai.
Book launch and award distribution events have also been postponed in the light of uncertainty. Sunil Mahajan, whose group Samvad organises cultural events in the city, said, “It is not feasible to organise an event in the evening and wind it up before the curfew timings. Many residents prefer to remain indoors before the night curfew timings to avoid any confrontation with implementing agencies. Hence, I have postponed the scheduled events till March 7,” said Mahajan.
Only a few multiplexes have reopened post easing of lockdown norms. “As no single screen has reopened yet, so we are anyway not affected by the night curfew restrictions,” said Arvind Chaphalkar, partner, City Pride multiplexes.