Only 8 Cinema Halls open in Dhaka
Ten years ago, the total number of cinema halls in Dhaka city was 40. With time, the numbers started to dwindle, leaving the city dwellers with only 16 functional movie theatres. Only 8 cinema halls in Dhaka are open to the public at this time.
Post pandemic, only Ananda, Chanda, Azad, Shyamoli, Shoinik Club, New Gulshan and Geet Sangeet are operational among the traditional halls.
Outside these mainstream movie theatres that only look to showcase local productions, Star Cineplex, that usually showcase foreign movies alongside local ones, is open in its locations in Dhanmondi, Mohakhali and its all-new Mirpur branch. Blockbuster Cinema, situated in Jamuna Future Park, is also open to the public.
Established cinema halls like Balaka, Purabi, Jonaki, Garisson, Padma, Shaheen, and Modhumita have been temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic.
About 5 years ago, movie theatres Purnima, Rajmoni, Ovishar, Parbat, and Asia were permanently closed due to the lack of viewers.
However, even though only eight cinema halls being operational theoretically means that more people should crowd there, the establishments are facing continuous losses throughout.
Mia Alauddin, senior vice-president of Film Exhibitors' Association and owner of Sathi Cinema Hall, told The Daily Star that the future looks bleak for the remaining halls. "We need to find a new way to attract people to the halls, or we will all soon be out of business," he said. "If the government does not intervene soon, there will be no cinema halls left."
Shamsuddin Mohammad, the Managing Director of Ananda and Chanda, talked to The Daily Star about the current situation. "You might hear the announcement of the closure of Ananda and Chanda any day now," he said. "If there are no good commercial movies to showcase, we cannot continue operations. We cannot even fulfill the cost of running these halls and pay our employees. We are truly going through a terrible time."