Vijayawada: Silver screen losing its sheen

Cinema ticket meeting put off to January 11
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Cinema ticket meeting put off to January 11

Highlights

Exhibitors, distributors to meet Minister today

Vijayawada: The proposed meeting between film exhibitors, distributors and Minister for Cinematography Perni Venkatramaiah (Nani) on Tuesday assumes importance in the wake of closure of theatres at many places following implementation of GO 35 reducing the ticket rates and the recent raids on theatres across the State.

The distributors and exhibitors, who met in Rajahmundry on Monday, said they would appeal to the government to make amendments to the GO. They will ask the government not to categorise theatres as A, B, C and D category. Instead, they want categorisation as theatres in malls, AC theatres and non-AC theatres. The rate of tickets should be uniform across the State. They want quick decisions as many new films are scheduled for release in the New Year.

They say that the projectors, the AC equipment, GST and power tariff are also the same everywhere. Even in panchayat limits, unless a theatre earns about Rs 3 lakh they cannot survive. The expenditure involved in running a theatre in panchayats is nothing less than Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 lakh. The delegation is also likely to raise the issue of recent raids on theatres.

They say that the authorities impose 70 conditions and it is not possible to follow them in letter and spirit, but all major and important conditions are being followed. But the government is likely to confront them saying that the theatre owners were not even obtaining fire clearance and they do not have proper fire-fighting equipment. Even basic facilities like pure drinking water are not being provided and renewal of licences was also not being done. They will justify their stand saying that it was to protect the interests of the movie-goers.

It now remains to be seen whether the industry leaders will also meet the government later and discuss making amendments to GO 35 or not. It may be recalled that several people from the Telugu film industry have been making comments accusing the government over this issue. Many actors were tweeting their opinions and making statements from public platforms causing embarrassment to the government.

From the government side too, some ministers had made comments that some top heroes charge Rs 100 crore or even more per film and they should reduce their remuneration.

The industry as a body had so far never approached the government to resolve their grievances.

The government feels that the Telugu film industry was not contributing anything towards state revenue. No shootings were taking place in the state. Interestingly, even Movie Artists' Association (MAA) which saw a fierce poll battle recently is silent on GO 35.

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