Article Tamil

Tamil Nadu theatre shutdown leaves producers desperate, demoralised


Producers, especially those whose films released only this Friday and last Friday, are in a state of worry and pain as they would have to suffer huge losses as a result of the theatre shutdown in the state.

R Kannan

Manigandan KR

The decision of theatre owners in Tamil Nadu to down their shutters indefinitely from today (3 July) to protest the imposition of an entertainment tax by the state government over and above the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has not gone down well with the producers of films.

Producers, especially those whose films released only this Friday and last Friday, are in a state of worry and pain as they would have to suffer huge losses as a result of the theatre shutdown in the state.

Their concern and disappointment is understandable as the lifespan of a film in a theatre itself has become very short over the years. Earlier, films used to be screened for 50 days or 100 days. Now, it has come down to just two weeks.  

A film will have to recover the amount that has been put into it in these two to three weeks. Now, if even those two weeks are going to be denied to a film because of a shutdown, then, the producers will have no way of recovering their investments.

This Friday, at least four new Tamil films, including Ivan Thanthiran, released. As Ivan Thanthiran began getting rave reviews, the crowds started queing up to watch the film. However, just when the film was well on its way to becoming a superhit, news of the state government's decision to impose an Entertainment Tax of 30% cent over and above the GST spread and theatre owners promptly announced that the shut down would begin from Monday, giving audiences who wanted to watch the film just two days to do so.

The move has dealt an emotional and financial blow to the producers, the directors and the cast and crew  of all these films.

In particular, the team of Ivan Thanthiran appeared devastated.

Recently, Kannan, the director of Ivan Thanthiran, made an emotional appeal through an audio clip. He said, "As a director, I wish to share some details with all my fellow directors and friends. From Monday, a theatre strike has been announced. I do not know what to do. Without any warning, how can they suddenly announce a strike? How will I repay all the money that I have borrowed for this film?

He appealed to directors Vikraman, Selvamani and Cheran, the office bearers of the Directors Association, to please do something as he did not know what to do next.

"I do not know whom to speak to. Everybody celebrates a good film. All the reviews have been great, saying this is a film for the youth. Please do something to help us. Please excuse me. I am unable to speak continuously," he said, breaking down.

"The only consolation I have is the Directors Union. I have been an assistant director and director for over 25 years. I feel the same pain that one would feel if one witnesses the killing of a new born child that has just had a minute to breathe in this world. Please extend support to a good film and ensure it is screened continuously."

Even as this report is being filed, members of the Tamil Film Producer Council, led by its president, actor Vishal, are waiting to meet the chief minister of the state to plead their case with him.

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