Outside food allowed in Multiplex – new rule invites mixed reactions

Movie goers can breathe a sigh of relief as they no longer have to pay unreasonable amounts for the food they purchase at the multiplex. Government’s announcement of allowing outside food into cinema halls raises many opinions and discussions not specifically good or bad.

A wave of good news was spread in Maharashtra on Friday after the government announced that there will be no restriction on taking outside food into multiplexes. The state government clarified that outside food consumption in the multiplexes is not illegal, and strict action will be taken against anyone prohibiting people from bringing their own food items in the cinema hall. The rule will come into be starting August 1. Additionally, a ban will be imposed on dual MRP for packaged food and drinks.

This issue was brought to light after NCP MLC Dhananjay Munde said that the multiplex rates are overpriced and it became a heated debate. In response to his query, Minister of state for food and civil supplies Ravindra Chavan made the announcement.

How Delhi reacts

The implementation of this rule is expected to soon spread to other states after Maharashtra. Sure people dread paying hefty amounts for their popcorn or coke but some believe allowing outside food will raise security issues. FounderINDIA spoke to Delhiites on how they feel about this approach.

Amir Khan   MBA Student

Amir, an avid movie watcher thinks that this is an amazing idea. “This rule must spread like a virus in Delhi. I want to have the option of bringing my own eatables and not pay ₹250 for a coke. Let me be comfortable and enjoy the movie rather than worrying about the food prices and staying hungry!” he said.

Amir opined that as there was no hope of the prices of food in cinema halls falling, he should be allowed to take his own food. “If the PVRs and cinema halls do not lower the prices to a reasonable amount, I would definitely prefer bringing my own food if the option is given,” added Amir.

Rohan Chatterjee                Aspiring Filmmaker

Rohan Chatterjee, a Delhiite who doesn’t miss any First-Day-First-Show, is not in support of overpricing of food items in multiplexes. “Cinema in India works on two things: The Indian flavour attached and the people, who can make or break a film star’s career on a Friday. Majority of the film’s collection comes from the middle class society of our country which comprises more than 50% of our total population. Now the middle class roughly watches 2 big movies or 4 small entertainers on an average. The average cost of a film ticket is ₹180, and the average cost of the food we buy inside is ₹250 which is even more than the movie ticket,” says Rohan.

“If there are 4 members in a family, their total average expense on the film is about ₹720 and the cost of food will come down to about ₹1000. Add both these figures and you will be able to understand how our ‘Bhai ‘ of Bollywood earns almost 10 times of what he actually deserves. All that money we spend in multiplexes is divided in a very in-proportionate ratio between multiplex owners and film producers, and it’s needless to say that producers have the last laugh,” adds Rohan.

“If we buy anything from outside the multiplex, it will cost you 10 times less. For example, if you buy popcorn from outside it will literally cost you ₹10-20 for which you pay anything between ₹150-200. My father used to tell me that in the ’70s, ’60s and ’50s, there were not many food outlets, and many times taking your own food items was completely legal unlike today. If that could come back, maybe we’ll get to enjoy every no-brainer movie more with our own choice of food without paying the extra money,” Rohan concludes.

Mahadevan Iyer        Consultant Researcher

Consultant researcher Mahadevan had a witty approach to the whole scenario and wanted to know if it is allowed to sell the food too. “Court has allowed to take eatables inside the multiplex, can we sell them too?” he quips.

“After this huge change, will we also be allowed to order food online or bring our own beer?” laughed Mahadevan.

“I would definitely love the change but am concerned about the multiplex’s security. Who gives the confirmation that every ‘lunch box’ or ‘food bag’ will be checked to make sure no illegal or dangerous item is being carried? I don’t want to be sorry for the government’s decision later,” says Mahadevan.

The aftermath

A real positive change will come with many other rules to ensure that security concerns are well taken care of. Though people love and support the idea, how successful will it be will essentially depend on several other related factors like security, cleanliness, et al.

Whatever may be the response in Maharashtra, Delhi cannot wait for this rule to be implemented soon.

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