CHENNAI: Theatres in Tamil Nadu remained close as per the decision by the Tamil Nadu Cine Theatre Owners Association, following little progress in discussions with the government. This delay in resolution has got producers, actors, and distributors of films slated for release this week, deeply unhappy.
Filmmaker Feroz, whose Pandigai, was supposed to release this Friday, says: “GST is suspicious, and what the State government is doing is even more suspicious,” he says. “Some people think we’re fighting GST but that’s not it. We don’t want the additional local State tax. I think it’s crafty of the government to have made this move on June 30 (Friday night) when nobody could do anything about it,” he says.
Postponing the release date isn’t a solution, according to him. “If I release my film on July 14, I’ll face stiff competition from the films scheduled for release then. I’m just waiting to see how things go.”
Subbu of Kasi Theatre says: “Solla mudiyadha vishayangal pala iruku (there are many things that can’t be stated),” before adding that he’s losing out on approximately `10,000 per day as a minimum collection.
Politician-actor S Ve Shekher, who holds a position in the censor board wants “the Central government to intervene and resolve this unprecedented situation.” He recalls: “A similar situation happened a few years ago in Bengaluru. The strike went on for a month. And it was so difficult for the producers and distributors to get the crowd to theaters after that.”
When asked about alternative methods like DTH services, he says: “Even when you make a film for `100 crore, you need to invest at least `1 crore in the projector. Only then, you’ll see some profit in the business. Releasing a film through other means can’t be called cinema. They’re telefilms rather.”
A renowned analyst who doesn’t want to be identified adds that what the industry wants is not to be taxed at all by the State. “Say Baahubali’s collection was around `2,000 crore, the canteen collection will also be around the same. But that money isn’t shared with the producer, is it?” he asks. “Another example is the commercials being telecast. Producers want a bite of that revenue.”
Producer-director Arun Vaidyanathan is concerned about how he has to start promotions all over again for his film, Nibunan. “They think we are rich. Only 2% of the whole lot in the industry can be called affluent. With no clarity on when this will end, where will we go?”