Karnataka government order on capping ticket prices delayed, movie theatres make merry

Even after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s nod to implement the budget proposal on capping cinema tickets to Rs 200, officials are dithering on it.

Published: 28th April 2017 04:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th April 2017 04:57 AM   |  A+A-

People waiting outside a multiplex bofore the screening of Baahubali-2 in Bengaluru on Thursday night.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Even after Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s nod to implement the budget proposal on capping cinema tickets to Rs 200, officials are dithering on it. The Government Order was expected to be issued by Thursday but is now bouncing between departments.

This delay has clearly helped cinema theatres and multiplexes, which are trying to cash in on the release of the blockbuster ‘Baahubali-2’ on Thursday. Some of them are already charging over Rs 1,000 per ticket.

Meanwhile, government sources said there is also a proposal to levy additional tax on ticket price for non-Kannada films.

Earlier, the CM  had said order will be issued in two days. Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) president Sa Ra Govindu too said the notification is expected by Thursday. That now seems unlikely at least till next week as the CM, who is travelling aboard, has to give final approval for it. “It looks like it will be issued after Monday,’’ said Govindu.

M Lakshminarayana, Principal Secretary (Information), said he sent the file to the Finance and Planning departments for approval. “It’s a procedure in government set-up. It has to be cleared by Planning as well as Finance Departments,’’ he said.

There is criticism on whether this dilly dallying and despatching a government order between departments was necessary.  “What is the need for sending it to Finance Department after the CM, who is finance minister, approved it? They seem to be deliberately delaying the process,’’ sources from the Finance department said.

According to a senior official in the department, the cap of Rs 200 may not apply for non-Kannada movies. “There is a special concession rate for Kannada movies. But there is a debate on whether Rs 200, excluding tax, should be fixed for non-Kannada movies. At most multiplexes, English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies have more demand. If additional tax is levied, multiplexes will benefit,’’ official said.

The delay, many feel, has also affected Kannada releases. Kannada director G M Giriraj said any collection in the first weekend of a release is crucial. “It’s unfortunate that for good Kannada movies are removed from the multiplex for non-Kannada ones. An acclaimed Kannada movie Raaga was removed to give space for Baahubali-2,’’ he said.

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