As the shutdown by theatre owners is set to enter its fourth day on Thursday, entertainment analysts said that the estimated loss for the industry now stands at Rs. 15 crore.
Theatres across Tamil Nadu downed shutters from Monday protesting against the state government’s move to levy a 30 % local body tax In addition to the 28 % Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was introduced by the centre from July 1. Tamil Nadu has 1,127 screens with over 6.14 lakh seats.
“We heard that officials in the government had a third round of talks to discuss how to deal with this issue. We are hopeful that we will get a call from them Thursday morning,” said Abirami Ramanathan, President of the Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation.
The Managing Director of a cinema hall in Chennai, said, “We did not get any update until Wednesday night. So we will be closed for the fourth day. In case the state government comes out with some positive solution we will open for the evening and late night show on Thursday,” he said.
Theatre owners across the state are bleeding as weekend bookings open on Tuesday or Wednesday. “Our weekend bookings open on Tuesdays and with the shut down we have already incurred huge loses,” said another theatre owner.
On Wednesday, Actor Rajinikanth posted a tweet commenting on the issue: “Keeping in mind the livelihood of lakhs of people in the Tamil film industry, I sincerely request the Tamil Nadu government to seriously consider our plea.” Actor Kamal Hassan responded to this on Twitter, adding, “Let’s request first as gentlemen should. Then we shall see.”
The industry is hoping that the state government would call them for the next round of discussion. Their demand is that the state should waive the local body tax, or increase the ticket prices which is now capped at Rs.120.