Theatres cash in on Telangana High Court order, jack up prices

The hike in the cinema tickets leaves a bigger hole in our pockets.

Hyderabad: The festive cheer of the season between Christmas, New Year and Sankranti creates an abundance of joy for the cineaste Telugu people with several big movie releases hitting the silver screen. But inflation has taken its toll on moviegoers, what with the Telangana High Court having allowed 34 theatres across Telangana to increase ticket prices for a period of six weeks, while several of the 600-odd theatres in the state having jacked up the ticket prices without legal sanction.

The High Court had allowed a few petitioners, including the Prasads iMax and multiplex, three Cinepolis theatres (Shalibanda, Kukatpally, Attapur), 10 PVRs including the ones in Cineplex, Central Mall, Next Galleria malls, Sujana Forum Mall, Carnival in Ameerpet and Shameerpet to increase its ticket prices from Rs 138 to Rs 200 between December 20 and January 26.

While the petitioners recei-ved the court permission for a temporary price hike, using the market demand during the festival season as a ruse, several theatres across the city and outside have increa-sed their ticket prices too.

Srivastava, a film enthusiast, said, “Cinema is the biggest entertainment for Telugu-speaking people. The influence of cinema is extremely high on society. A commoner’s only easy access entertainment is to buy a cinema ticket. The hike in the cinema tickets leaves a bigger hole in our pockets. For a family of five people, when the ticket price is surged, it means they cannot see all the movies released.”

Government should not interfere: Producer
The film enthusiast further said, “It makes little difference to them whether the hike is legal or illegal. What is the role of the ministry of cinematography? What is it doing?”

Rajesh Agnoor, executive producer, said, “When the incidents of illegal increase in the ticket price are known, enforcing agencies should come into picture and end it. The government should not play a spectator’s role.”

Lagadapati Sridhar, movie producer, said, “No one is forcing a common man to go to the theatre. Has anyone ever questioned the price of cricket match in a stadium? Why is there so much state interference in price of movie tickets? Some movies are made with a budge of `5 crore and others in `100 crore - how can we bring our returns back?”

Speaking of the need for the government to leave pricing decisions to the market, Mr Lagadapati said, “This industry generates huge employment. We pay so many taxes to the government. But we don't get even a single public location free of cost for shooting. Even if we shoot on a street, we have to pay challan. Stars charge high remuneration; The government has to give a free hand to producer in fixing their ticket price and end this needless role that they have taken upon themselves.”

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