Finally, breaking his silence, actor Rajinikanth on Wednesday urged the Tamil Nadu government to roll back its decision to levy a 30% entertainment tax on theatre owners.
“Keeping in mind the livelihood of lakhs of people in the Tamil film industry, I sincerely request the Tamil Nadu government to seriously consider our plea,”
Rajinikanth’s support comes as the indefinite strike by theatre owners entered its third day. The Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association had called for the complete shutdown because of lack of clarity on ticket prices after the Goods and Services Tax was launched on 30 June midnight. As per the new tax regime, cinema tickets that cost more than Rs 100 will fall under the 28% tax slab. However, according to an ordinance passed by the Tamil Nadu government, theatre owners have to pay a 30% entertainment tax to the local body in addition to the GST.
But Rajinikanth is not the first actor to come out in support of the theatre owners. On Monday, Kamal Haasan had issued a statement in which he cited the example of states like Kerala and Karnataka that have not levied any additional tax over and above GST.
Market experts peg the loss to the film industry because of the ongoing strike at Rs 4 crore per day, reported Hindustan Times. While as many as 10 Tamil films released in the past two weeks in the state will be affected by this strike, the ones that were supposed to hit screens on July 7 are also likely to held up.
However, ruling party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s spokesperson CR Sarawathi has blamed the Centre for levying 28% GST on films. Opposition leader and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Working President MK Stalin, on the other hand, has alleged that the state government was misusing the GST to earn more revenue.
Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar had held a meeting with theatre owners on Saturday and said that Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami would come to a decision soon on whether to impose or do away with the additional 30% tax.