Film industry sops fall flat!
The Andhra Pradesh Film Development Corporation chairman, Ambika Krishna recently announced a few sops to woo the Telugu film industry to the state. Small filmmakers were clearly sought after, as he declared that the state’s share of GST would be reimbursed for films made within Rs 4 crore. President of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, V Veeru Naidu responded positively to the announcement.
“It’s too early to say anything as it was just announced just a day before, but I welcome the decision. I am going to hold a meeting with all sectors of the film industry in a couple of days to discuss these sops,” he said.
The AP Government also announced that filmmakers can henceforth shoot at any location free of cost. However, as per the Telugu Film Chamber website, Rs 15,000 is the highest amount charged for a film shoot in a park while the minimum is Rs 5,000 to shoot on roads and beaches under the Municipal Corporation. So, while this may be of some help to small filmmakers, it really has no bearing on the bigger films.
“There needs to be more clarity about these sops. If the State Government reimburses its share of GST on budget films, will the amount go to the producer, the exhibitor or the distributor or will it be equally shared between them? The single window system for shooting has been spoken about since ages, but has never become a reality,” says filmmaker Thammareddy, who adds, “As soon as you put a camera on a road, the police, Municipal Corporation and many other government departments come and ask a thousand questions.”
Interestingly, in Vizag, although Rama Naidu Studios was established a few years ago, film shootings are just not happening. Earlier, some Bengali and Odiya films were shot there, but they too seem to prefer the outdoors to the studios. Now, in a surprising move, the government has announced nearly 350 acres of land in Vizag for the development of studios.
“When an established studio is not doing well and not even getting money for maintenance, the government has announced more land for studios,” says a source scornfully.
“We are still waiting for the Government’s invite to talk about all these things,” says Veeru Naidu, President of TFCC.
“Any sop given by the government to the industry is welcome, but implementation is key. Only time will tell how many people toe the line,” says K.L. Narayana, Chairman, Telugu Film Producers Council, adding that some of these proposals were already announced a few years ago.
Many also believe that filmmakers will not be that keen to utilise these sops in a hurry. “I don’t think that filmmakers will react immediately. People who shoot in AP are regulars and have never bothered about any sops,” says Thammareddy, while asking for greater clarity on the announcements. “Even some of the big filmmakers can show that their films are made within the budget of Rs 4 crores, so the government should provide more clarity,” he adds.