Now, it pinches to watch a film!

Booming rates

Now, it pinches to watch a film!

The Kannada film industry is all smiles about the new State budget. What is making the industry happy is the fact that the annual subsidy will now be given to 100 Kannada movies, instead of the existing 75. The new budget, however, has also led to an increase in the movie ticket rates. Theatres with air-conditioning facilities will now charge Rs 3 more and non-AC theatres will charge Rs 2 more. While watching a movie during the weekend is already an expensive affair, the increase in the tax is like a double blow.

A look at the multiplex tickets and one can see the rates divided under different heads like admission fee, entertainment tax and service tax. A popular multiplex in the City charges close to Rs 180 for a movie ticket on a weekday, of which approximately Rs 119 is considered as the admission fees, Rs 54, the entertainment tax and Rs 7, the service charge.

Though the increase in the entertainment tax by the government may seem like a small amount, that, along with the admission fee and the service tax add up to a big amount, with tickets for two for a non-Kannada film during the weekend costing around Rs 600 to Rs 700 in a multiplex.

Many within the industry say that the increase in tax for movie tickets is both a good and a bad step. According to film-maker-cum-actor Ramesh Aravind, people will still be ready to pay the price. “The pinch will be felt by the lower middle-class. But if the movie is worth watching and is something that people want to see, they will not mind paying that extra bit,” he adds.

Veena, a professor, also feels that no budget can stop movie buffs from entering the theatre.

“Many of my students do not mind paying that little extra for a good movie. So I don’t feel the increase in the tax will make much of a difference,” she adds.

But not all have the same belief. Somnath, the producer of Dil Ka Raja, says that
while the increase in tax will prove good for producers and distributors, its not the same for movie-goers.

 “As it is, the number of people coming for Kannada movies is less and now, they may think twice before coming for a movie every week. But then, even now, people are ready to spend a good amount  to watch films in other languages. So why not for us as well?”

Karun, a professional, says that if the tax is increased, the services provided at the theatres should also improve. “Most of the independent theatres don’t have clean toilets or properly working air-conditioners. The theatres should aim at improving these things along with other basic facilities,” he says. Now, with many movies being available online or screened on cable within a month or two, many also say that they won’t be missing much if they stop going to the theatres.

Aakriti, a student, says, “I feel many will think twice about going to the theatre as most of the latest films are available online. The DVDs are also out the same weekend. With the increase in ticket rates, these options seem more convenient.”

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