Vijayawada: The scenario of sudden closure of cinema theatres continues in Andhra Pradesh, with nearly 185 cinema halls shut, out of a total of 1,000 in the state. The Telugu cinema industry trying to find an amicable solution to the crisis.
The Telugu cinema industry, welcoming the rate hike for cinema tickets in TS is seeking a solution to the tickets issue in AP and started efforts through Tollywood stalwart Chiranjeevi, who agreed to meet chief minister Jagan and minister P Venkatramaiah this week to end the impasse.
Once there were 3,000 cinema theatres in the united Andhra Pradesh. The number fell to 1,750 due to various reasons including the establishment of multiplexes. At present, there were 1,000 theatres in the residuary AP state with a seating capacity ranging between 350 and 400 in each theatre.
Officials said there were four lakh seats across the state; and there was no parity between the tax being collected and the theatre collections. Hence, the online system was introduced to bring transparency.
According to reports, the majority of the theatres closed voluntarily by saying they were unable to run with the new online ticket system which put ticket rates “low”. Several other theatres were closed due to non-renewal of licences and non-compliance with government rules.
Sources said the majority of the theatres were under the control of Telugu film industry’s bigwigs based in the revenue-generating cities and towns and they rule the field. At present, only a few modern theatres in B and C centers pulled their shutters down. The cinema halls belonging to bigwigs in the cities and towns are operating shows as this is the season for new films.
For instance, the world's third-largest screen, VEPIQ, located in Sullurpet, in a rural area was closed on Saturday due to the tickets issue. Tollywood actor Prabhas-owned UV Creations constructed the multiplex two years ago.
The UV Creations constructed the theatre at Pindipalem close to Sullurpet. There exists a large screen with 106 feet width and a seating capacity of 676; and there are two more small screens with 140 seats each. But the multiplex falls in the rural category and hence the ticket rate has decreased according to the new system and it closed the viewing facility.
The multiplex management said, “As per the guidelines of GO-35, we cannot run the shows at the reduced prices. We closed it temporarily till a final decision is taken.”
With the Omicron threat looming large, the film industry is worried about the fate of the films ready for release during Sankranti. There exists a possibility of postponing the release of new films due to ticket rate controversy.
Telugu film industry sources said Chiranjeevi has entered the scene to negotiate with the AP government to find an amicable solution. He is already in consultation with the cinematography minister Nani and would meet CM Jagan to discuss the issue with a TFI team, in two or three days. The industry is hopeful that Jagan would heed the request of Chiranjeevi and take a favourable decision....