The Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused major Indian movie releases being postponed indefinitely, provides an opportunity for Malaysian film producers to release their movies to a larger-scale audience for the upcoming Deepavali festival on Nov 14.
Lotus Group Founder and chief executive officer Tan Sri R Doraisingam Pillai said the indefinite postponement can be a "blessing in disguise" for local film producers to produce more quality films for the festive season as there will be no stiff competition from major Indian movies.
"Local movies have their own fan followings and we Malaysians should support local movies.
"Lotus Five Star (LFS) Cinemas provide full support for local talents and this upcoming Deepavali would be an encouraging platform for our local producers to release their movies to a larger-scale audience," he told Bernama in an exclusive interview at his office at Wisma Lotus in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Commenting on the occupancy rate in cinemas in view of the ongoing recovery movement control order (MCO) to stem the Covid-19 pandemic, Doraisingam, who runs the LFS Cinemas, one of the largest cinema chain in Malaysia, said operations of cinemas resumed on July 2 with only 50% audience of the full capacity allowed for each screening.
He said LFS Cinemas will adhere to the strict standard operating procedures set by the government, with only 100 viewers allowed for a 200-seat capacity screening.
Doraisingam also welcomed the proposal by a board member of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), R. Denes Kumar, to bring the Malaysian Film Festival to India as an initiative to nurture local film talents, besides inspiring industry players to expand their knowledge in filmmaking.
Meanwhile, director of LFS Cinemas, Garuna Murthee said local film producers should make full use of the opportunity in the event of no major Indian movie releases for Deepavali.
He said three local Tamil movies will be released in conjunction with Deepavali, and they are Poochandi to be released on Nov 12, Paramapatham (Nov 26) and Mr Peyi (Dec 17).
He said Malaysian film producers have been producing many quality Indian film content and cited comedy-drama Vedigundu Pasangge, which was produced in 2018, as an example. It made history as the highest-grossing Tamil-language film in Malaysia with RM1.3mil collection at the box office, he added.
Garuna Murthee believes that the cinema industry will bounce back in the wake of Covid-19 as many are eager to watch movies in theatres.– Bernama