Going ahead with their strike against the digital distribution companies, the South Indian film industry has called for the shutdown of movie theatres in the respective states. Cinema screens at various places have closed their shutters with film fraternities in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerela coming together.
The issue has been brewing for quite some time now with the filmmakers alleging that the money being charged is too high and is proving to be a burden on the producers. However, on the other hand, the members of the digital distribution companies claim that the prices being charged are justifiable. Reportedly, the producers have claimed that the implementation of GST (Goods and Service Tax) is affecting the collections and reducing the processing fee by the digital service providers, will reduce the burden on them.
It has been reported that no films will be screened at the theatres until the strike is called off. Theatres in Visakhapatnam too have been shut down with the closed gates sporting a message by the distributors and exhibitors of North Andhra.
The message said, “As per the decision of the South Indian Film Industry Joint Action Committee (SIFIJAC), all the producers, exhibitors and distributors will jointly be going on a protest against the exorbitant amounts being charged by the digital providers, and from March 2nd 2018, screenings of movies in theatres will be stalled. We request the audience to cooperate with us in this regard.”
“From ₹7,000, the VPF has now gone up to ₹10,000 on a weekly basis. For screening a movie for more than a couple of weeks in the hall, the DSPs are collecting ₹27,500. As per the initial terms, once the theatres are equipped with required digital equipment, DSPs agreed to waive off the VPF a few years down the line. However, this did not materialize and instead, they ended up hiking the fee,” V. Veeraju, vice-president of the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, was quoted as saying by The Hindu.