July 3, 2017
All the 1100 film theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry down shutters in protest, seek total rollback of the 30 per cent municipal tax.
Chennai: Tamil Nadu film industry came to a grinding halt on Monday after distributors and theatre owners began an indefinite strike demanding a total roll back of 30 per cent municipal tax, over and above 28 per cent GST, on film ticket sales.
All the 1100 theatres and multiplexes in Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry joined the strike that began early morning. The film theatre owners’ association held two rounds of discussions with government on Saturday and after they failed, the strike call was given for Monday.
On Monday too, the film producers’ representatives as also theatre owners associations, called on chief minister Edapaddi Palanisami in an attempt to get him to withdraw the steep corporation tax that will completely cripple the film industry.
Sources in the government indicate that the government was not in a mood to let go of the revenue, especially after many of the taxes it used to impose were subsumed by the GST, and the film strike will continue.
The TN government silently introduced the corporation tax, in place of entertainment tax that was subsumed by GST. Today the total tax mounts up to a whopping 58 per cent and this clearly would not be affordable to the people as tickets would be costlier.
Said L Suresh, president of South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, “we demand withdrawal of the corporation tax in toto.”
Nowhere in the world you have such a high taxation, he said.
Slowly the film stars, whose films are lined up for release next Friday, are coming out against the government order. But there are clear cut divisions among the film fraternity, as the producers were not backing the film theatre owners fully.
However, superstar Kamal Haasan, one of the few who came out openly against the move, said that the industry was united and he hoped that good sense will prevail and the order withdrawn.
“One nation, one tax slogan of Modi – if anyone who is not listening to this, it is the Tamil Nadu government,” said a film producers’ association member.
Shankar Shanmugam, director of film 2.0 starring Rajinikanth, also spoke out against the huge corporation tax.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association, said “we will not be able to run the shows and it is better we close down. If we run theatres, we will have to pay corporation tax. There is no option but to close.”