Govt. decision on tickets, raids on theatres rile film fraternity

Owners of 55 cinema halls shut down business, say it’s unviable to continue with such low rates

The YSRCP government’s decision to reduce the prices of cinema tickets and the subsequent raids on theatres at many places has riled the film fraternity.

Theatres found to be functioning allegedly in violation of the rule book during the surprise visits of officials have been sealed, while nearly 55 theatre owners are said to have shut down business, unable to continue with such “low rates” of tickets.

Nani, Siddharth speak up

Raising serious concern over the decision ahead of the release of his film ‘Shyam Singha Roy’, actor Nani said the prices fixed were not logical.

He went on to say that when a kirana shop owner outside a theatre makes more money than the theatre owner, its an insult to the audience. He expressed the hope that the issue would be resolved soon.

Another actor Siddharth, in his reaction on Friday, criticised the government decision in a series of tweets.

Taking a dig at the government, Siddharth questioned why not regulate land prices, or cutting the cost of staging cricket matches, and pass on the discount to the customer.

He criticised the Ministers who speak of reducing cost of cinema and passing on the discount to customers.

“We are tax payers and we pay for all your luxuries. Politicians earn lakhs and crores of rupees through corruption. Reduce your corruption and give us our discount,” he said.

Ambika Krishna’s plea

Telugu film producer and distributor, and former Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Film Development Corporation Ambika Krishna expressed grave concern over the move, and said the government should rethink the issue.

“The fact that owners of nearly 55 cinema theatres in the State have voluntarily shut down business explains the magnitude of the problem,” he said.

Referring to the slashing of movie ticket rates, he said, in C-class centres such low rates would not work out.

Mr. Krishna attributed the decision to the “failure of the film directors and actors to heed the repeated pleas of the government to come and shoot their films in the State.”

“I can understand why the government is angry with the industry. As Chairman of the Film Development Corporation, I had requested in vain big heroes and directors to schedule some part of their shootings in Andhra Pradesh. They would go to different locations in the country and abroad, but ignored Andhra Pradesh,” Mr. Krishna alleged.

He reiterated his plea to the Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Venkataramaiah to rethink and save the film business in the State.

Ministers for Municipal Administration Botcha Satyanarayana and Irrigation Minister P. Anil Kumar, in a counter to Nani’s remarks, said the decision was taken in the larger interest of the public.

“How can it be an insult to the audience when we are trying to bring down the rates in their interest,” asked Mr. Satyanarayana, while Mr. Anil Kumar said it was the worry of “lower remuneration” that was bothering these actors.

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