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22 Feb 2020, Edition - 1684, Saturday

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Coimbatore

Will multiplexes adhere to rules? Will they allow food and water into theatres?

Neya Tabitha

When we hear the words popcorn and soda, the first thing that comes to mind is movie and the food counters there. But with the inconsiderate pricing on water and food in the theatres, cinephiles and movie goers find it hard on their pockets.

But did you know, popcorn was consumed during the Second World War following a great depression, and people used to eat in the dark. Now these puffy corns have become a corporate business, gaining more profit than the ticket itself.

The theatres do not allow outside food, so the customers have no choice but to abide to rules, forcing them to spend on overpriced food and of course the bottled water.

The Multiplexes can consider allowing water and baby foods because we cannot give them outside food. Moreover, it is better to give them food prepared at home. Outside food have added preservatives and adulterations which are harmful to them, said Rebekah G, a mother of a four year old.

A recent RTI in Hyderabad revealed that there is no law to restrict customers to bring their own food. The Tamil Nadu Cinema Regulations Act 1955 and 1957 also states that there are no restrictions in letting customers bring their own food and water.

This RTI has revealed that it is applicable not only in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but to the entire country as well. Maharashtra was the first state to allow such practices, followed by Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 and Trivandrum in 2019.

Despite this, multiplexes in Coimbatore continue to restrict outside food, slapping a price tag on the food they provide, citing security issues.

Not only that, the customers are also allowed to bring their own 3D glasses to movies if they are not willing to pay that extra dime. And since there is no receipt given for it, a complaint can be filed with the Legal Metrology Department, according to the RTI, if forced to pay.

Ganesh S, a businessman and movie buff says that he and his family used to go to the theatres every weekend, sometimes even two consecutive shows a day. But as the expenses are now escalating they have reduced their visits to bare minimum.

According to The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, if the theatres do not allow outside water, they must at least provide facilities where the consumer can get water free of cost because there are people from various walks of life, including aged people who will have to sit for three hours, said Loganathan M, an Advocate and Activist.

He added that the price of the food is more than the ticket, so a family of three will have to spend more than a thousand rupees, including petrol and parking.

When contacted the Manager of a multiplex in the city, he said “We allow our customers to bring their own water, and we allow food brought in by pregnant women, infants, children and diabetic patients. We have been following this since the Multiplex was inaugurated in Coimbatore. But we cannot allow everyone to bring their own food to avoid misuse like bringing alcoholic beverages and biriyani”. He also added that they sell their items as per the MRP.

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