New Delhi/Mumbai, Feb 1: The big ticket movies were missing and ‘houseful’ signs still a dream but it was nonetheless a landmark Monday for the corona-battered film industry that welcomed the first day in 10 months of cinemas in several States opening their doors to 100 per cent occupancy.

On Sunday, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar released a new set of SOPs to ensure smooth functioning of cinema halls and permitted 100 per cent occupancy from today. And though there were hurdles aplenty, the decision brought cheer with theatre chain owners, distributors and producers saying it was a much needed impetus for the recovery process of their industry.

With cinema halls shut for much of 2020, producers had stalled the release of big film such as Akshay Kumar starrer Sooryanvanshi, Ranveer Singh’s 83 and Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha.

But that could all change now and 2021 could well be the year of cinema entertainment with more than 50 films lined up for theatrical release, said industry insiders looking to recover quickly from the losses of the year that was.

“It’s a very positive move by the government, and it’s a big shot in the arm. It will give impetus to the recovery process of the film business, Kamal Gianchandani, CEO PVR Pictures, said.

“A lot of producers, especially of big films who were unsure about the capacities and when the government would restore capacity to 100 per cent, would feel encouraged to go ahead and release their big films and mid-size films,” Gianchandani added.

Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are among the States that have permitted 100 per cent occupancy after the Centre’s decision. Since the new protocol was released only a day earlier, he said it will take another 10-15 days before all States can issue the same model. – PTI