Tamil Nadu theatre owners had been on an indefinite strike from March 16 demanding that the government should remove the local entertainment tax, change license renewal period from three years to one year, and revise theatre maintenance charges to Rs 5 per ticket from the current Rs 1. Representatives of the Tamil film industry also held discussions with digital service providers on their demands.
On an average, there is a total loss of 5 to 8 crore for the Tamil film industry every day. There are 1,050 theatres across the state, with the Chennai region alone having 146 screens and suburbs and two multiplexes in Coimbatore city are screening films like other language films and limited shows. Nearly 950 screens outside of Chennai city have temporarily closed down as they are demanding that the government scrap the local body entertainment tax.
Abirami Ramanathan, the president of the Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association, met state government officials, representing the Joint Action Committee, and seemed pleased about the outcome. He shared that the government of Tamil Nadu had assured that the demands would be met soon. This, he said, meant that the strike could be withdrawn and will resume screening of films.
But, this doesn’t mean that new Tamil films can get released. While Chennai has been called off the strike, this announcement comes as huge news for theatres across the State.
According to a report, Theatres in Tami Nadu start running the Tamil hits starring MG Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan’s films once again to the delight of moviegoers. The report said that Chennai’s Albert Theatre is screening MGR’s hit movie Enga Veettu Pillai and will also screen the actor’s Nadodi Mannan (1958), this week.
TFPC treasurer S. R. Prabhu said the producer’s council was in talks with distributors and theatre owners over several issues, like computerization of ticketing and abolition of Virtual Print Fee. Actor Vishal, who is the president of the TFPC, shared that it has been clearly communicated that the producers will only pay for mastering from now and that there is no question of paying VPF charges.
Theatre owners have now asked for more time to discuss the issue and arrive at a decision. Actor Vishal is determined not to have more conversations with Digital Service Providers over this issue.
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