Outside food in cinema halls?

ACTRESS Hema Malini, singer Sonu Nigam, and several other prominent film personalities have objected to the recent decision of the Maharashtra State Government, to allow spectators to carry food inside the cinema halls.

Questioning the practicality of the decision in favour of allowing food and drinks to be consumed inside the multiplexes, both, citizen as well as prominent film personalities, have evoked a mixed reaction. Made by the Maharashtra State Government during its monsoon session at Nagpur on Friday 13, this announcement could indeed mean a nightmare for cinema patrons.

There is an outright ban on outside food in the cinema premises in countries like the US. Also, outside food is not allowed in other venues like a live concert, sports stadiums, restaurants, etc. The news has been blown out of proportion and the issue is being given more attention than it actually deserves. The proposed kneejerk reaction to the issue by the Maharashtra Government has drawn the ire of artists and citizens alike; we have compiled a few quotes on the subject.

Actress Poonam Dhillon says, “It will definitely create an issue as security will have to do so much more work. That was my first reaction as people may be carrying non-veg, so an issue of bones, smells of pickles, various other aromas may make the theatre atmosphere very uncomfortable.”

People may get into fights with the objection of food items, smells, drunk misbehavior and most important – security could be compromised as won’t be possible for security people at the theatre to go through every item in detail. Like the airport, one will have to come one to two hours before for security checks. It’s not practical, she added.

According to producer, director, actor, and writer Zeishan Quadri of Gangs of Wasseypur, “One goes to a movie hall to watch a movie and not concentrate on eating.” Commenting on the development, actor Sonu Sood echoed the same sentiment saying, “There has to be a check of what food will be brought in. It’s very important to set the norms as security reasons are concerned. Honestly, the odor which will come from the tiffins will spoil the ambiance.” Actress Priya Banerjee, actors J Brandon Hill, and Yuvraj Siddharth Singh echoed similar sentiments.

Singer Kailash Kher says ” As far as security reasons are concerned it is going to be very challenging, If people will carry liquor inside the multiplex the situation will become out of control and many incidents can take place.” Singer Anuradha Paudwal opined, “It would be a horrible thing. After ages, we have got theatres like PVR and Inox and if this is going to happen, then people will again stop visiting theatres. The ambiance will get disturbed because of this mentality. This is not a good idea.”

Singer Bhoomi Trivedi also reacted in the same manner. She said, “The question here is, there are higher chances of an unwanted event taking place. Do we have measures for those activities? Whose responsibility would it be if an unwanted event occurs due to food or liquor brought in from outside? There is so much of unpredictability in the outside world. How much would one be protected from anti-social elements? Watching a movie has a reason behind people or families wanting to relax, chill spend time instead of being suspicious about anything they see or feel. The fewer things people carry from home the more they will be free to enjoy the movie.”

Sonu Nigam, who has candidly lent his voice to many social issues, said, “I absolutely feel that outside food should not be allowed in the cinema hall majorly because this will or could be detrimental to the existence of multiplexes. We have to understand that the cinema hall owners rely on the money that they make from food items and beverages. Depriving them of their business module is not fair to them and could lead to a crisis. Also, Indians have the habit of misusing their rights. One can expect cinema halls to become like railway stations in the future if outside food items are permitted in. When one goes to watch a film in a cinema hall, one goes with full knowledge of the conditions he has to abide by. Moreover, nowhere in the world, people are allowed to take food inside cinema halls.”

Television actors were also not far behind when it came to voicing their opinions on the issue. Actor Karanvir Bohra, who has acted in several movies said, “I didn’t realise that actually is this the way of solving this issue? As a security measure, liquids should not be allowed as it can increase crimes.”

Actress Pooja Bisht said ” I personally feel there should be a list of such items which cause excessive, uncomfortable odor to avoid discomfort to other people and should not be allowed. I would rather go to a restaurant if I really want to eat something of my choice.” Veteran actor Sudesh Berry commented, “I feel the interval time should be more so that anybody who wants to eat drink and use the washroom can create a comfort level for people and they can come back again. But no eatables or drinks should be allowed inside at all.”

Shuhangi Atre of the famous soap, Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hain, said “I am worried that theatre and multiplexes don’t turn to be unhygienic as people will eat and throw the litter here and there. It would be very difficult to sit inside the theatre for hours.” Actress Saumya Tandon was of the opinion that there would be a financial problem if outside food was allowed inside theatres and cinema halls. “A screen costs 1.5 to three crores to build and to make the theatre business viable, the cinema earns profit from ticket and food. Now, if the cinema is not allowed to make money on food, then the ticket prices will need to go up for them to sustain. This, ultimately, will come out of consumers pocket and ultimately reduce the theatre-going people in India thus affecting the whole business of cinema.” Actors Aditi Gupta, Ojaswini Arora, Khushank Arora, Raghav Juyal and Devoleena Bhattacharjee also expressed their worries at the step of allowing food inside cinema halls.

Actress and politician Hema Malini exclaimed, “You allow delight of food, and you are opening gates to disease and ill-health. Hence, if you allow food, you promote side effects like odor and stench! Obviously, liberties to indulge in indisciplined food pleasures would prevail irrespective of the quality of film you have gone to experience! In fact, you experience titillation of taste at the expense of movie experience!” Shriya Saran added, “I don’t understand what is the reason behind it but according to me, food should be not allowed inside a multiplex. It’s not allowed anywhere in the world. If you feel hungry then eat your food and come to watch a movie, carrying food inside the multiplex will destroy the ambiance. Even it’s not safe due to security reasons.”

The responses from the people who are closely associated with the film industry are expected to prove as an eye-opener for the policymakers.

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