Theatres will remain shut from today as part of an indefinite strike, protesting against a 30% municipal tax that the state government has announced apart from the 28% Goods and Services Tax or GST levied on movie trade.
Owners of theatres have cancelled screening demanding to withdraw municipal tax also urging that both together will be an unaffordable 60% tax.
The indefinite strike have affected the 10 Tamil films that released in the past two weeks in the state, which is the only state that levies an extra tax in addition to GST.
Tamil Nadu's Film Exhibitors Association has also said that the government should allow them to hike prices of movie tickets "reasonably," if both the tax are being levied on movie trade.
Before GST was launched at midnight on Friday, movie theatres in Tamil Nadu paid a 30 per cent entertainment tax to local bodies. Nikilesh Surya, Executive Director, Rohini Silver Screens said, "With 60 percent tax we can't survive."
"Though the Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association had decided on Friday to cancel shows from July 3, many theatres shut down yesterday itself," the association's president Abirami Ramanathan said on Sunday, adding about 1,000 cinema halls state-wide are shut now.
'Ivan Thanthiran' director R Kannan posted a message on Saturday that his film, which hit the theatres on Friday, will suffer a major loss if theatre owners go on strike from Monday. "They announced the strike without prior notice," Kannan said. "How will I pay back loans I took to make this film?" reports Time Of India.
In addition to 28% GST and 30% entertainment tax, theatre owners have to pay an additional tax that local bodies levy. "It adds up to 68%, leaving us with just 32%," he said. "Many theatres across the state shut on Sunday itself as it is not viable to pay such a huge percentage as tax," says Abirami Ramanathan, President, Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation.
The livelihoods of more than 10 lakh people depend on the state's film trade.