Tulu theater and film artists on Thursday urged the state government to allow theaters to reopen and allow theater troupes to put on dramas while artists are in dire straits.
At a joint press conference here, senior artists Devadas Kapikkad, Vijaya Kumar Kodialbail, Kishor D. Shetty and producer Prakash Pandeshwar said educational institutions, commercial establishments and industries have been allowed to reopen and that the transport sector is back to normal.
New cases of COVID-19 have declined significantly in the coastal region.
Therefore, the Dakshina Kannada district administration, MPs and other elected officials from the coastal belt should step in and convince the government of the need to allow the reopening of cinemas and the theater sector.
They said that many artists are completely dependent on theater and cinema for their livelihoods.
There are more than 30 theater groups in the coastal belt. More than 5,000 people depend on different forms of cultural activities.
Theater groups have not been granted permission to put on plays at major festivals, including Sri Krishna Janmashtami and Ganesh Chaturthi.
Therefore, it has become difficult to earn a living for many artists. The government should allow theater companies to put on shows at the upcoming Dasara and Deepavali festivals.
Mr Pandeshwar said that around 10 to 15 Tulu films are waiting to be released. The government should allow full occupation of cinemas. Only then will it help producers, cinemas and other stakeholders. If 50% occupancy is allowed in theaters, it will not help stakeholders.
Mr Kodialbail said that if the same situation persists, many cinemas will have to be closed permanently.
Tulu’s film industry will be forced to deal with the situation that existed in 1971, he said and added that any restrictions on theaters should be relaxed.
The artists said MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, the minister responsible for the district S. Angara and other elected officials should take the lead in convincing the government of the need to save the theater and film industry.