More than 1000 theatres across Tamil Nadu have gone on an indefinite strike and have shut down theatres in protest against the entertainment tax imposed by the state government. After the much-debated GST (Goods and Services Tax) was implement from July 1st, 2017, ticket prices across India have changed and the most affected by this change in tax structure is the state of Tamil Nadu after the state government decided to impose the entertainment tax of 30% besides the GST.
This addition of another tax meant a rise in price of cinema tickets and taxes on tickets ranging between 48% and 58% depending on the theatre. The whole Tamil film industry has been against this decision of the state government and has been protesting this tax structure saying that will have a direct impact on the cinema business.
Theatre owners have shut down protesting this news tax structure saying they will not be able to run theatres with tickets at such soaring prices. Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation president Abirami Ramanathan made an announcement that all the theatre owners would participate in the strike, adding more agony to producers in Tamil cinema.
President of Tamil Film Producers Council, actor Vishal, requested the theatres to call off the strike or at the least postpone it by few days till the time the talks are held with the government. Recently released Gautham Karthik starrer Ivan Thanthiran director R Kannan expressed his fear of running into losses if the film is not screened in theatres.
“A government order was passed on Friday, declaring that in addition to GST, the state will levy 30% entertainment tax which will be collected by local bodies. We have heard the pleas of the affected producers. We will discuss what needs to be done,” said Abirami Ramanathan.
With so many big films lined up for release in the coming season, this definitely will hurt the Tamil film industry in a big way.