Entertainment tax: no new releases from this week, says Vishal

Actor Vishal | Photo Credit: M_VEDHAN
Producers want the government to scrap the entertainment tax
With the State government imposing a 10% entertainment tax in addition to the Goods and Services Tax for movie tickets, Vishal, actor and president of Tamil Film Producers Council, said that there would no new movie releases from this week here, at the Producers Council office in Chennai on Wednesday.
“There would be no new film releases from Friday. The film industry is not in a position to pay 40% tax to the State government. With issues of piracy and low ticket prices, producers don’t make that much money these days,” he said at a press meet.
This would mean that the films that are currently in cinemas would continue to run and there would be no releases.
With Deepavali just a couple of weeks away and cinemas deciding not to screen new releases, there are doubts over whether the big-budget Tamil film, actor Vijay’s Mersal, will release on festival day.
Stating that it was a painful decision, Mr. Vishal said they would once again give a representation to the State government urging it to repeal the entertainment tax. “In fact, even when we met representatives from the State government during the opening of actor Sivaji Ganesan’s manimandapam, I had told them that even a 2% entertainment tax would be difficult for us,” he said.
Mr. Vishal said that levying differential taxes for Tamil and non-Tamil movies will never work as Tamil movies had a huge market in other States as well.
“Hindi movies in Tamil Nadu will have to pay 48% tax. It is not reasonable. What if other States start imposing similar taxes for Tamil movies in Kerala, Karnataka and rest of India? The entire business of the industry will come down,” he said.
Another well-known producer said that this was the last option available. “We will see how the State government responds. If they don’t, we will have to stop filming and shut down the industry fully. What can we do?” he asked.
Speaking about the long-pending issue of regulating the film exhibition business in Tamil Nadu, renowned distributor and exhibitor Tiruppur Subramaniam said that the exhibitors association had decided to ensure that the theatrical revenue is properly accounted for in future.
“We will only sell printed tickets with cost price and taxes. This is a promise,” he said.
Source-The Hindu

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