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Sunday May 29, 2022

Drums, cake and milk as Bollywood cinemas dance back to life

Cinemas shuttered in March 2020 under a strict lockdown when Covid-19 first hit the country, and then enjoyed a brief reprieve before closing after a massive virus surge in April.

By AFP
November 05, 2021
Drums, cake and milk as Bollywood cinemas dance back to life
Drums, cake and milk as Bollywood cinemas dance back to life

Mumbai: Indian film fans banged drums, danced and ate cake outside Mumbai cinemas on Friday to celebrate Bollywood´s first big-budget release since the pandemic began.

Cinemas shuttered in March 2020 under a strict lockdown when Covid-19 first hit the country, and then enjoyed a brief reprieve before closing after a massive virus surge in April.

The industry is hoping for a rebound with theatres back in business across the country, most recently in Mumbai, capital of Bollywood, the world´s most prolific film industry.

First out of the blocks on Friday, just in time for the Diwali festival weekend -- traditionally a time for blockbuster releases -- was "Sooryavanshi", the first marquee Bollywood film to be released on the big screen in 18 months.

Fans danced and chanted the name of the action caper´s star Akshay Kumar -- with one even baking a chocolate cake embossed with the name of the movie.

"We have been waiting for almost one and half years for a big Bollywood movie to be released," said Sikander, one fan eager to watch the film.

"You can see the crowds chock-a-block here. I don´t remember the last time I have seen such a huge crowd of moviegoers," he told AFP.