Chennai: Unhappy with the state government order allowing a revision of the upper limit on prices of cinema tickets late Friday night, the producer’s council and cinema theatre owners on Saturday demanded another fresh round of talks with the state top brass to resolve the issue of double taxation.
“We cannot pay additional taxes beyond GST and the industry is already facing tough times due to GST and video piracy”, actor Vishal, president, Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council, told DC. We are okay with the state revising the base rate price but there are other issues which have to be sorted out. A final discussion in this regard is scheduled on Tuesday and we have sought the intervention of state government to reduce the 10 percent local body tax, Vishal added.
As per the orders issued by home secretary Niranjan Mardi dated October 6, 2017 the government has decided to increase the base fare of ticket prices in multiplexes which have more than three screens and other facilities like air conditioning, family entertainment and restaurant facilities, to Rs 160 and the minimum fare to Rs 50 in Greater Chennai.
In case of theatres located in suburban areas, a multiplex can charge a maximum of Rs 140 and minimum of Rs 50. The minimum ticket sold for Rs 10 (which are usually never by a majority of the theatres in Chennai) has now been hiked to Rs 15 across the state. The order, which mentioned about the letter received from the cinema association, said the ticket prices proposed by the film representatives are very high. Hence in the interest of public welfare, the livelihood of film industry and the financial situation of the state, the ticket prices may be increased by 25 percent over the existing base price. A GST of 28 percent will then be added to this base rate, the order explained.
"Post GST, movie lovers in Tamil Nadu, particularly in Chennai, are already spending extra money to watch a film. Now with the state revising the base price rate, they are only allowing the multiplexes to charge more", said Rajesh Kumar, a movie buff. "During weekends, I used to watch movies with my friends, but the number of friends who used to come are now avoiding theatres as a movie in a multiplex will easily cost somewhere around Rs 200 per person. If the rates are increased further now, the footfall will decrease further," said 26-year-old Ilayaraja Srinivas, who works as a lecturer in an engineering college.
According to theatre owners, the revised government order that comes into effect from October 9 (Monday), which means watching a film in the larger multiplexes will now cost Rs 192. This amount does not include convenience fee charged for online bookings and the exorbitant parking lot rates besides popcorn prices. "What has the state done to curtail video piracy that they have decided to choke the cinema industry? The people are already staying away from theatres. Those in power should understand that increase in theatre ticket rates will affect the middle class", said a theatre owner....