India: Cinemas reopen to small audiences after months

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Seven months after screens went dark, cinemas reopened Thursday in much of India with mostly old titles on the marquee – a sign of the country’s efforts to return to normal as the pace of coronavirus infections slows but also of the roadblocks that remain.

The return to movie theaters comes as India is registering the highest number of daily cases globally and is expected to soon top the list worldwide in terms of total number of reported infections, passing the United States. But trends also suggest the spread is beginning to slow.

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Nearly 10,000 theaters closed in mid-March when the government imposed restrictions to fight the virus, which has torn through India and is blamed for more than 110,000 deaths. Cinemas are among the last public places to reopen – a hugely symbolic move in a country known the world over for the lavish productions pumped out by its Bollywood film industry.

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