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.
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.
- 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