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Bunty Aur Babli 2, Indoo Ki Jawani expected to be first releases as cinema halls reopen

Akshaye Rathi, who runs a chain of cinemas in Madhya Pradesh said the plan is to begin with small but exciting titles to gain momentum by December.

A mix of new and pending titles, including Saif Ali Khan-Rani Mukerji starrer Bunty Aur Babli 2, Richa Chadha-led Madam Chief Minister and Dibakar Banerjee’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar are set to hit big screens in the coming months, revealed film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi on Friday.

The home ministry last week allowed reopening of cinema halls at 50 per cent occupancy from October 15, in a huge relief to theatre owners and exhibitors who were left severely affected by the coronavirus-induced lockdown in March.

“We will be starting with smaller films, a mix of new and old. There’s Manoj Bajpayee and Diljit Dosanjh starrer Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, Yash Raj Film’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar and Bunty Aur Babli 2, Madam Chief Minister and Indoo ki Jawani.”

Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, directed by Abhishek Sharma, also stars Fatima Sana Shaikh. The team wrapped up the film’s shoot earlier this year. Speaking to indianexpress.com in July, Abhishek had said he would wait for cinema halls to reopen to release the social satire.

“We all believe that Suraj Pe Mangal Bhaari is a theatrical experience as it is a family comedy. We are hoping that families will get together to watch the film. But then, everything depends on when cinema halls will re-open. Once we know for sure, a final call will be taken,” the director had said.

Yash Raj Films’ Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, starring Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra, was scheduled to release on March 20. However, the team had to postpone the release due to the pandemic.

The production house’s other offering, the sequel to its hit 2005 romantic-comedy Bunty Aur Babli, wrapped up in September. The film, directed by Varun Sharma, also features Siddhant Chaturvedi and debutante Sharvari.

Kiara Advani-led Indoo Ki Jawani was supposed to arrive in theatres in June. But as the lockdown thwarted the release, it was speculated producers Bhushan Kumar and Nikkhil Advani would take the OTT route. The film’s trailer and a song were also launched last month.

Bhushan Kumar’s Madam Chief Minister, starring Richa Chadha, was earlier set to arrive in theatres on July 13. The political drama, helmed by Subhash Kapoor, also stars Manav Kaul, Saurabh Shukla and Akshay Oberoi.

Akshaye Rathi said all these producers were waiting for the Maharashtra government to allow reopening of cinemas in the state to make the respective announcements.

“There’s robust communication happening between theatre owners and exhibitors and from what I know, these films are sticking to theatres. We will be taking it slow and hopefully by December, we will gear up for big-ticket openings.”

“Production houses should make the announcement as soon as the Maharashtra government gives the go-ahead for cinema halls to re-open,” the exhibitor said.

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