Film, India, Stories

Next time you go to a Cinema Theatre/Multiplex, check if your Theatre follows these rules


It is important for citizens to know about their rights as well as rules governing various issues. Here is a compilation of some of the important rules to be followed by theatre managements in AP and Telangana. Similar rules exist across different states and readers are encouraged to check their individual state’s cinema regulation rules. Some of these rules are not known to the common public and hence not enforced in many theatres.


It is a known fact that the people of India are avid movie lovers. The number of films made every year and the number of screens across the country is a testimony to this fact. According to the Film Federation of India, there are over 10K screens across the country which is the second largest in the world,only after the US. But not many of the movie goers know about the rules that the theatres have to follow.

The Constitution of India puts cinematography both in the Union List & State List for different purposes. While the Central Government is given the authority to certify films for exhibition (Censor Board), the State Government is given the authority to regulate cinema theatres, norms governing them, admission fee in theatres etc.

While there are similar rules across different states in India, we wanted to highlight some of them from AP & Telangana as a case study. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Cinema Theatres are governed by “The Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1955 and the Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1970” and their subsequent amendments. (These acts are also valid for Telangana now). Below are some of the rules movie goers should be aware of.

Seating & Conditions

  • There should be a passage of 0.9 meters in width for every 10 rows of seating accommodation.
  • The gangways should not be less than 0.9 meters in width and should be so arranged that no seat shall be more than 10 seats from a gangway.
  • The distance between the screen and the first row of seats should not be less than the height of the screen or the top picture height of the screen.
  • The seating capacity of any theatre is calculated at the rate of 25 persons per 9 square meters of floor area after excluding the area of entrances, passages, gangways, stage, stair cases and all places to which the public are not admitted.
  • The first two rows of seats from the screen shall be earmarked and provided at a lower rate of admission than the seats behind. (Only Multiplexes)
  • Every air-conditioned theatre should fix thermometers of Fahrenheit type at three or four conspicuous places inside the theatre, seven feet above the ground or floor level, and should keep them properly enclosed in suitable fittings as to avoid any possible damage and to facilitate taking of readings, and also ensure that suitable temperature, ranging between 76-80 F, is maintained in theatre during the whole period of actual running of the shows.

Noise Levels

At no point of time during the show, the maximum noise level inside the auditorium of the cinema theater shall exceed the following maximum.

  • At Source : 90 Decibels
  • At 5 Mts : 86 Decibels
  • At 15 Mts from Source : 80 Decibels

Toilet & Water

  • One WC and one Urinal for every 50 persons and less for exclusive use of each gender should be provided.
  • Drinking water should be provided in adequate quantity.

Show Timings & Show Rules

  • The theatre at each show should also exhibit (for five minutes) any slides/video provided by the Licensing Authority (the government) if it is non-commercial. (We should all be requesting the government to provide some relevant social message and use these five minutes instead of spending crores of rupees on advertisements).
  • The theatre should not allow any regular show by any means before 8.40 a.m. or after 1.30 a.m.

Acts & Laws to be followed by Theatres

  • The management/lease holders shall be responsible for ensuring that the relevant conditions stipulated under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and Legal Metrology Packaged Commodity Rules, 2011 are followed.
  • Compliance with provisions under Food Safety & Standards Regulations, 2011 made under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act) shall be mandatory for all food canteens/points etc. in theatres / multiplexes.

Safety Related

  • The movie goers should be provided with lifts/escalators for exit at the end of the shows on par with such facility provided at the time of entering the theatre.(Only Multiplexes)
  • A short documentary should be screened during every show by showing the exits, emergency escape routes and instructions as to what to do and what not to do in the case of fire or other hazards (As per directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Uphaar Tragedy case).
  • The emergency department telephone nos. of nearest Hospitals, Police Station and Fire Department should be displayed in every show. (As per directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Uphaar Tragedy case).

We could demand the theatres to enforce some of these rules if they are not already doing it.

Where should be the complaint be lodged?
In districts, the concerned licensing authority is the District Collector and hence a complaint can be made to the collector in case of a violation. In cities like Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Warangal where there is a  Police Commissionerate, the licensing authority is the Police Commissioner, hence a complaint has to be filed with the police.


  • The Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1955
  • The Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1970
  • GO No 100, Government of AP, Dated 26.04.2013

Featured Image Source: Tarun Mitra at English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


About Author

Rakesh has been working on issues related to Right to Information (RTI) for a decade. He is a Data/Information enthusiast & passionate about Governance/Policy issues.


  1. Any guidelines for how long can the commercials are allowed to played before the start of the show?

    • The guidelines do not contain any such timelines. The only limitation on the advertisements is this, “Should not exhibit any advertisement slides relating to sexual diseases and medicines to correct sexual disorders or purporting to assist the childless in begetting children”

      • Inox(Parmeshwari and Maheshwari) in Kachiguda and INOX showed a series of commercials that went on for 20 minutes during the interval. Obviously this cannot be correct. Anything we can do about it, even though the present guidelines do not deal with this?

      • what is the minimum time to play the commercials In multiplex??

        if rights to play the commercials upto 20mins..

        let me know….

        • exactly … yesterday i had that experience almost 27 mints of Add we saw… and the multiplex team don’t care if we talk to them. we paid a good amount to watch the movie and why should we watch this much of Advertisement ??

    • Satish Kumar Anand on

      Dear Mr Rakesh,

      What action can be taken against the errant cinema hall owners ?

  2. here in Vadodara, Not many follow these. Drinking water is not there so as to buy at high price from their outlets.:-D

      • In nasik divya adlab theater allways says the combo coupen is compulsory for 1 tickit this mean if tickit rate is Rs60 they charge 60+80 rs =140 rs is this compulsory

        Pls give solution with help line number.

  3. Darth Vedar on

    Is it legal for a multiplex to restrict entry of any food items, thereby forcing people to purchase its overpriced food? (I assume that it is, since it is a private institution, but thought I’ll ask anyway.)

  4. Saibal Goswami on

    I just visited Inox yesterday. Surprisingly the shown 25-30 minutes of commercials before starting the film after the interval (or they can claim that as an Interval) also there were no slide/film on the emergency exit plan and Do’s & Don’t Do’s during Fire or earthquake. Can I do anything for that. Any authority where I can knock?

  5. there is theater near by my home its sounds comes out loud and at night,it s more its disturbing my studies where do u complaint

  6. Dear sir, you have designed well informative website. Please guide me what are the licences required for opening open air theater like Prarthana Drive in theatre in Chennai? I would like to open one in Chennai near to Beach

  7. In karnal Haryana we have movie time cinema very dirty stinking and unhygienic anything we can do against them

  8. n.eswaramoorthy on

    Sir iam from chennai …in inox theatre foods are very costly and that food are not that much quality….example one coffee 100 rs ..milk powder and coffee powder not mixed properly and like a hot water not like a coffee..for this purposes i want to file a case so what can i do sir….

  9. n.eswaramoorthy on

    Sir iam from chennai in inox theatre citi centre online ticket booking and counter ticket booking are fastly filling how i dont know example the movie released timing is evening 4pm but within 10 minutes all seats are full how this possible sir …after i knowing this iam shocked sir..the theatre unit manager,hr,team leader all r join together and blocking the seats…this was happened for all new movies sir this was correct ??? Blocking the seats and giving to big shots,cini field all popular people..for public and normal people are not eligible to see movie in inox like a peputed theatre ah sir??? I want to complaint this sir for blocking the seat within 5 minutes and during show timing they are releasing the blocking seats this is correct sir….

    • Theatre is a private property and its their choice to do as they please regarding sale.
      You can only complaint if they dont follow guidelines in response with quality and safety,
      Nothing more.

  10. jaydev solanki on

    what is Legal Metrology department as you say earlier that in case of overpriced food at cinema?

  11. jaydev solanki on

    what should I do is they refuse to give me a ticket if it is the time table and the show is empty?I am from Gujarat.

  12. In tiruchendur. Tuticorin district nothing facilities here they chare 80rupess for bench seat and sofa 100rupees and ac 120 here nothing avaliable they charge more money from people.

  13. Pingback: మీరు సినిమా చూస్తున్న థియెటర్లో ఈ సదుపాయాలు ఉన్నాయా? ·

    • First of all they shouldnt allow you to carry any baggage into theatres.
      If u r provided with a counter to safe gaurd u r baggage no wrong in charging you for that,

  14. Hello Rakesh, Are you from hyderabad? Any idea if the large screen IMAX is following the seating norms. I seriously doubt it. We would like to know what you have to say about it. The seating is 1-42 seats without any gangsway in between. clear violation. However not sure if there is any special provision for multiplexes?

  15. This is informative. Could you add details on security? In several Cinemas and shopping malls in hyderabad, they search with bare hands like you are a theif and suspected terrorist. And they leave women without checking. Aren’t metal detectors compulsory? And when they have metal detectors, is it obligatory to search with bare hands?

    • Yes who knows who the next terrorist is ?
      Do they have or you have any data who the next terrorist is ?
      Yes,How do u detect plastic explosives and matchboxes and other stuff with metal detectors ???
      and For your info : Women are searched as well in a separate queue by Women security.

  16. vivek naraasimham on

    i had been to Raghavendra multiplex theatre recently with family. the entry to the film is a red carpet. surprisingly when the film was over all the public are sent through a small entry and that too besides stinking toilets. there is no exception to the senior citizens , they have to walk down all floors to reach the car parking. this seems to be a very odd treatment , and there is no one to respond our call. Most of the viewers wanted to complain and there is no one to take care. even the car parking seems to be useless.. i am trying my best to complain this issue to the highest authorities and see that there is enough timing between two shows, there is adequate car parking , passage to the public , and mainly safety rules.. and see that over crowding is avoided in case of mishap like fire and other emergencies.. mainly this RK CINEPLEX needs to be reviewed as the infrastructure is very very poor…

  17. melapu subbinaidu on

    No cinema hall is following the rules sir.. .. Nobody is providing drinking water. … Nobody is maintaining toilets clean

  18. P.suresh kumar on

    Today i need complaint raise in movie theater..maintainance….each one 300 cool drink is mrp 18rs but in theater he collect 30 rs..each i need give complaint about at adress….srinivasa theater Rpgt road hindupur..anantapur district..


  20. hi i would want to know one rule ie for which gang way is given for every 10 row earlier is their any change in the rule at present

  21. i went to watch marvel infinity war movie in wideangle cenama threater and at the last of the movie at the end they didnot show us the last scene of the marvel ending which is of 1 min . what to do ??

  22. jeelakarra subbarao on

    Hi sir, can you tell me about seat to seat minimum distance and slop to higher rows for multiplex designing. i hope i will get notes shortly from you.Thanking you.

  23. Hi Sir,
    can you tell me that , i booked 2 tickets of BHoot movie o n thursday online for sunday 5.45pm show but they shecudled change and no show at that time . what should i do?