South film industry mulls shutdown

South film industry mulls shutdown
Highlights

After numerous days of deliberations, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce is reportedly mulling a shutdown of work in four industries - Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada - against imposing 28% GST. The four state governments have been charging Entertainment Tax anywhere between 0 and 18 % and till now. 

At present, AP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala levy entertainment tax between 0 and 18%

After numerous days of deliberations, the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce is reportedly mulling a shutdown of work in four industries - Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada - against imposing 28% GST. The four state governments have been charging Entertainment Tax anywhere between 0 and 18 % and till now.

The high GST will affect the viewership and stump the rise of regional cinema. For instance, ET for Tamil and Kannada films is zero, while it is between 7 and 16% in two Telugu states and around 15% in Kerala.

“Tollywood is already suffering a drop in viewership and now another 10 to 15 per cent hike in ticket rates will spell doom to the industry. Besides, the government is thinking of allowing local bodies like municipalities to levy their own tax, so it will be double whammy for the viewers.

Even other language filmmakers are worried and shutdown looks imminent,” says a member of the Telugu Film Producers Council.

For the last 10 to 12 days, bigwigs of Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam industries are holding discussions, since the GST roll-out from July 1 will severely affect the regional cinema more than the Bollywood.

“Regional films are made with small budgets to cater to its limited viewership, so any hike in ticket rates will directly impact the livelihood of lakhs of film workers and makers so there should be cap on the GST,” says producer C N Rao.

Similarly, popular star Kamal Haasan along with other chamber members said the regional cinema was the pride of the country and it cannot be pressurised through taxes.

However, C Kalyan, president of the Film Federation of India and former president of the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce says, “Discussions are going on but the decision to shut down south cinema yet to be taken.”

He adds: “Film Federation of India members are also discussing the issue in Kolkata and will take it up with the Centre soon.”

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