• Wednesday, May 12, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:39 am

How Covid-19 brought the curtain down on Kushtia's cinema halls

  • Published at 06:48 pm April 13th, 2021
Chitra cinema hall
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

However, Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown and associated public health protocols have acted as the final nail in the coffin for the film theatres of Kushtia

Cinema halls in Kushtia were already struggling due to the dominance of television, internet, low quality scripts and backdated infrastructure. 

However, Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown and associated public health protocols have acted as the final nail in the coffin for the film theatres of Kushtia 

Among the 12 cinema halls of Kushtia, only Banani Cinema Hall was operative before the pandemic while the rest of the dream palaces were already filled with archaic equipment or abandoned all together.

But sadly, all kinds of activities in the only active cinema hall of Kushtia came to a halt since the first Covid-19 lockdown imposed last year. Now all the workers involved in this industry have become unemployed.

Established at the heart of the city in the 70's, this movie theatre has been closed since 2003. Currently, it's being used as the dumping ground of archaic equipments and household commodities.

Keya Cinema Hall was also built at a very busy place of the city. But currently there is no sign of it. The Cinema Hall was bulldozed and a corporate building named Porimol Tower has been built in its place.

Bani Cinema Hall, which had been around for almost a decade, is now being used as a community center. Azad, a local businessman who used to run the movie theatre stated that audiences turned away from cinema halls due to the dominance of sky culture and declining quality in movies.

He was forced to take the decision of converting the film theatre to a community center due to continued loss, he added.

The story of all the other movie theatres in the district is more or less similar. They have been either bulldozed or renovated to serve a different purpose.

Bokul Hossain, the owner of the Banani Cinema Hall, which was forced to suspend its operations following Covid-19 lockdown, said that it would be possible to reopen the cinema halls if the government provides loan assistance and special incentive packages to the owners of the movie theatres.

Khalek Bari, an employee of Banani Cinema Hall said that goodwill of the government is enough to bring back the good old days of film theatres in Bangladesh. 

He demanded tax cuts and low rents to revive this dying industry. 

Student of Kushtia Government College Arafat said that there is no environment to safely watch a movie in the theatres with the family. 

Moreover, the scripts are either backdated or of low quality. The production quality is also not up to the mark.

If these problems are tackled, then perhaps the golden era of cinema can be brought back, he added.

Amjad Hossain, a veteran in the local movie industry and owner of two  (now defunct) cinema halls blamed misuse of technology,  addition of obscene cut pieces and local and international conspiracies as the main triggering factors behind the downfall of cinema halls in Bangladesh.  

He said although the government is planning to assist the owners with incentive packages, it won't bear fruit if such financial packages bear a high interest rate.

Amjad said with great sorrow that he has already bulldozed one of his movie theatres and is planning to renovate the other one in order to provide office space to a few banks.

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