India’s film industry, purveyor of song-and-dance spectacles to millions, will take at least two years to recover financially from the coronavirus pandemic, which is threatening big-ticket projects, putting at risk tens of thousands of jobs, Reuters reports.
That was the sombre assessment of about a dozen top producers, distributors and actors from Bollywood, the movie industry in India’s commercial capital of Mumbai, during a video conference this week, one of the participants said.
Such dim prospects, even after the lockdown is lifted, threaten the box-office takings that make up 60% of industry earnings, spurring producers to say big-budget films and extravagant shoots in foreign locations will be shelved.
Bollywood has come to a grinding halt, with film production and theatres shut nationwide, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a 40-day lockdown to curb the virus, which has infected 31,000 people and killed more than 1,000 in India.
About 9,500 theatres are shut, and business at multiplexes and single-screen cinemas is unlikely to bounce back for weeks or even months, as infection fears linger and discretionary spending plunges.
Shares in India’s two largest multiplex operators, PVR and INOX Leisure, have plunged more than 40% from all-time highs in late February.
Brokerage Emkay also slashed its rating on both to “hold” from “buy”, saying they would suffer declines of more than 50% in visitor numbers, ticket sales, advertising revenue and food and beverage sales in fiscal 2020-21.