The Hyderabad City Police’s clarification was in response to an RTI filed by anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal. Under the Cinema Regulation Act of 1955, patrons aren’t restricted on carrying food and water, and complaints can be filed with the Legal Metrology Department.
For a long time, food and beverages (F&B) from outside have always been a strict no-no at cinema halls. That, for the average family, added to burning a bigger hole in their pockets when headed to the movies, thanks to the exorbitant prices of F&B inside the theatres. So while the clarification should be great news for cinemagoers, not everyone is pleased.
No to outside food
Industria-list Usha Sanghi believes outside food shouldn’t be allowed although food prices inside theatres should be monitored.
“People shouldn’t carry outside food because many have no civic sense and end up making a mess — like someone who’d dropped popcorn during a movie I was at in INOX GVK recently. So, while the food charges should be monitored, it’s not a picnic. If people are to carry water etc., there should be restrictions on the amount, like at the airports — to keep the place clean,” asserts Usha.
Loss of revenue for theatres
Cherizad Pestonji, a businesswoman, sees both sides of the debate. “You can’t carry food even from a restaurant at the mall you’re watching the movie in, which is inconvenient, especially at meal times.
The rules are similar in Dubai and London. But I remember even at the plush platinum suites of a Dubai cinema, the food sold was deep fried, saturated in fats and extremely unhealthy. So it makes sense to carry one’s own snack.
But I also understand why cinemas can’t let go of the F&B business — it generates revenues,” she adds.
Movie hall food is part of the fun
Mitali Sanghi, a young businesswoman in the city, also understands the revenue-generation needs of an F&B business, and agrees on banning outside food.
While she thinks exceptions can be made for children and pregnant women, she cautions that it shouldn’t lead to people eating their dal-chawal in the theatres.
“Cinemas need to make money even if it’s generated from the service they’re providing. Movie-hall food is part of the whole experience of watching a film; or you can watch it at home while eating homemade food. Yes, people such as pregnant women and the elderly should be exempted,” she says....