Over 6.5 million people went to the theatres on National Cinema Day, which was celebrated on Friday to commemorate the successful reopening of movie halls, the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has announced.

More than 4000 screens from across the country, including cinema chains like PVR, INOX, Cinepolis, Carnival, Miraj, Citypride, Mukta A2, Movie Time, Wave, M2K and Delite, participated in the initiative.

As part of the one-day event, various cinema halls started shows at 6 am on Friday, offering “celebratory admission price” of Rs 75.

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“Audiences of all ages came together to celebrate this historic day at the cinemas. We are thankful to the 6.5 plus million moviegoers who attended their local cinema to purchase movie tickets, making 23 September the highest attended day of the year for the Indian cinema industry,” MAI president Kamal Gianchandani said in a statement.

Theatres across the country have been struggling to record a decent footfall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The National Cinema Day, which was celebrated weeks after the release of Ranbir KapoorAlia Bhatt’s blockbuster hit “Brahmastra: Part One Shiva“, led to a good turnout.

Filmmaker R Balki’s thriller “Chup: Revenge of the Artist” and R Madhavan-starrer “Dhokha: Round D Corner” also witnessed positive response at the ticket window.

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Rajender Singh Jyala, chief programming officer, INOX Leisure Ltd, said “All the theaters, all the shows and all the movies are houseful as audience are very happy to watch movies at Rs 75. This is going to be the highest footfall day in the history of cinema.” “We had around 6 lakh footfalls at our 702 screens across India. The number one film is ‘Brahmastra’ as the number of shows are more, followed by ‘Chup’, ‘Dhokha: Round D Corner’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘Sita Ramam’,” Jyala told PTI.

He felt such initiatives should be taken regularly to bring audiences to the theatres.

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Exhibitor and distributor Sunny Chandiramani, who runs 25 screens across Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, said it has been the “most fantastic” day for theatres in the country.

“It has been the most fantastic response. We are overwhelmed. All shows are housefull and we have witnessed the highest ever occupancy today,” Chandiramani told PTI.

The National Cinema Day was to be held on September 16. However, on the request of various stakeholders and in order to maximize participation, it was pushed to September 23.