STRIKE WHEN THE IRON IS HOT!
Nearly 1,100 ﬁlm theatres across parts of Tamil Nadu went on an indeﬁnite strike, starting Monday, to protest the imposition of high tax rates under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Film theatre associations are demanding a rollback of the tax, which came into effect from Sunday. The state theatres will stop advance bookings of tickets and all shows across the theatres will be suspended starting next week. The ﬁ lm industry staged a protest on Monday. Taxes of 28 percent and 18 percent will be levied under GST for tickets costing over and under Rs. 100 respectively. This would be in addition to a tax of 30 percent imposed by the Government on theatres. It could have been a scenario which could have been predicted early because South superstars like Kamal Hasaan and Rajnikant openly voiced their dissent against such high taxes which could have killed the very fabric of their industry and Kamal Haasan, a reasonable man even declared that he would quit acting if such a rigid tax structure was followed and that a tax structure like their neighboring state Kerala should be adopted. But even a superstar like Rajnikant’s opposition and tirade against this tax regime didn’t solve matters and some opined that if a leader the stature of Jayalalitha was in power and the people’s leader politician Karunanidhi was active in politics, such a scenario could have been avoided. This strike is going to cause losses to the entire industry and even those who are a part of it and so many stomachs are fed because of the huge Tamilian ﬁ lm industry which is amongst the most popular ﬁ lm industries in the world who worship their stars and the directors and even build temples for them. The question now is that will the other ﬁ lm bodies and industries in India will follow suit and show their solidarity or will it just be the Tamil Film Industry who will be in arms? The problem is that the industries are not uniﬁ ed and can’t come on a common platform, otherwise a common plan could have been mooted and a referendum could have been given to the government by the leaders of all the Indian ﬁ lm industries and an amicable solution could have been achieved. A strike also causes a loss of a huge magnitude to the government treasury as the entertainment tax is the golden goose for the Treasury of the Government. And they can’t kill them. So in the interests of the industries which are already beleaguered by problems like low audiences, huge loss ratio, piracy, reducing demand for audio and satellite industry, workers problems, the authorities should kindly consider the beneﬁ t of the industry and the government too and allow a ﬁ lm crazy nation like India to breathe freely and sustain itself. We are not saying that the GST is bad but it should be reconsidered practically and the tax rates should come down a bit. Otherwise, it’s DOOMSDAY for the Tamil industry and maybe the Hindi ﬁ lm industry too!