In what would come as a big relief for multiplex-goers, Maharashtra government on Friday has categorically clarified that Multiplex owners cannot restrict customers from carrying their own food items. State government has also announced that it will take strict action against multiplexes that stop customers from carrying their own food items for consumption.

The announcement to this affect was made by Minister of state for Food and civil supplies Ravindra Chavan in response to a query raised by NCP MLC Dhananjay Munde. The NCP MLC had brought out the government’s attention to the prices levied by Multiplexes for products bought within the establishments due to their monopoly.

Chavan said that there was no such rule under which multiplexes can charge huge amounts of money and said that there cannot be two different prices for the same product. He also said that the government will also soon resolve the issue of higher pricing of eatables and beverages in multiplexes and govt will be coming up with a policy in next six weeks on taking action against such multiplexes and malls.

Recently the Bombay High Court too had pulled up the state government and multiplexes based on a PIL on how multiplexes were not allowing people to bringing in food stuff procured from outside multiplexes and were charging an exorbitant amount for people who bought food products from within the multiplexes. Very recently, MNS had raised the issue about the huge prices charged to the cinegoers for F&B in the multiplexes as well.

The thing that consumers are charged a lot of money is a fair point and they aren’t allowed outside eatables inside is a little debatable. But the other side also have their reasons for doing so. They believe it will kill the whole movie viewing experience and the theater won’t feel like a theater with the smell of various kinds of food wafting around instead of just popcorn. It also raises concern for safety as people can smuggle in anything ranging from drugs to bombs inside the tiffin and kerosene or anyother inflammable liquid inside a bottle. A lot of people would also lose their jobs if  the revenue of the F&B of the theaters go down as without any profits, no one can really afford to keep employees. They government should also look out for the safety and security of the patrons and not only their convenience.

The Multiplex Association of India, as of now, have had no formal communication from any regulatory authority.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan Trade Magazine