As Master is slated to open amid 50 per cent occupancy order, director on how cinemas can be a safe environment if everyone follows protocol.
Vijay in a still from Master
It's not uncommon for South star Vijay's films to generate pre-release buzz. However, Master, ahead of its release on January 13, found itself in the eye of the storm when the Tamil Nadu government allowed 100 per cent occupancy for theatres last week, following the star's meeting with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Soon after, the Centre instructed the Tamil Nadu chief secretary to fall in line with its guidelines, leading the state government to revoke its order on January 8.
The controversy notwithstanding, director Lokesh Kanagaraj is only too happy that the film will have a theatrical release during Pongal. "The objective behind making this film was to release it in cinemas. A movie like this can only be celebrated on the big screen. We never thought of taking the OTT route, and were sure of waiting it out," he says.
The effort to secure 100 per cent occupancy had invited the wrath of different sections of society, who were aghast that a movie's commercial prospect was being given higher priority over public safety. Quiz him on this, and he instead emphasises the need to make cinemas safe by following necessary precautions. "If people come drunk to cinemas, the theatre authorities bar them from entering the premises. Likewise, if they see anyone not wearing a mask, they must adopt the same policy now. They have to be more vigilant. We have to take care of ourselves and follow all safety precautions. I will take my family to the theatre, and adhere to the safety norms. The pandemic has not ended completely, so we have to be [socially] conscious."