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Representatives of Tamil Nadu film industry to meet state CM with reccomendations

The aim of the meeting will be to propose setting up regulations in fees and taxes levied on filmgoers, and the formation of a Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation.

Manigandan KR

The Tamil Film Producers' Council and the Film Employees' Federation of South India have announced that the ongoing strike in the film industry will continue and no new Tamil film will be allowed to be released in the state.

Further, actors, directors, technicians and workers from the Tamil film industry will undertake a rally on 4 April which will culminate with the representatives meeting the Tamil Nadu chief minister.

Addressing a joint press conference with RK Selvamani (president of the Film Employees' Federation of South India [FEFSI]), actor Vishal Krishna (president of the Tamil Film Producers' Council and secretary of the South Indian Artistes' Association), said, "The strike in the film industry will continue till all policies and practices pertaining to the film industry are regulated and made proper. We have decided to seek the intervention of the state government in this regard. We, therefore, intend to take out a huge rally, at the end of which we intend to meet the chief minister and explain the problems plaguing the film industry to him."

The actor, who is also a producer and distributor himself, said that the aim is to bring a certain amount of regulation in the film industry, adding that one of the benefits of such a regulation would be more audiences in theatres.

"We don't want watching films in theatres to be a costly affair," Vishal said, pointing out that a sum of Rs30 was being charged by theatres as booking charges for tickets online. "We are going to go to the government and explain our grievances to it and appeal for intervention," he added.

RK Selvamani, who represented FEFSI at the meeting, said that they would undertake the rally and meet the chief minister and urge him to resolve the current stalemate. Selvamani said that they would place before the government a few requests including the formation of the Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation.

"We are not saying that the government should not collect tax. What we are saying is give us a structure and then collect tax. We want to make all payments only by cheque. Similarly, theatre owners must give only computerised tickets. We want to do all of this. To facilitate this, there must be [a] structure. They must create a Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation on the lines of the National Film Development Corporation," he said.

"Earlier, at least a 1000 people would turn up to watch a film in a theatre. Now, because of the exhorbitant prices of tickets, which include GST [Goods and Services Tax] and then, on top of it the Local Entertainment tax, the parking charges and the additional costs of booking tickets online, only 200 people turn up to watch a film at the theatre. The problem arises when one looks to recover the money that one would make out of 1000 people from the 200 who now come to theatres. This has resulted in a situation where even these 200 now stop coming to theatres. To address all such issues, we are placing some requests to the government," Selvamani explained.

When pointed out that the strike had started primarily because of a disagreement between producers and the Digital Service Providers (DSPs) over the Virtual Print Fee (VPF), Vishal said, "The dispute over VPF with the DSPs would not be one of the issues which would be presented to the government. We will be representing other issues like doing away with the Entertainment Tax on top of GST, Parking Fee regulation, computerisation of ticketing and the formation of the Tamil Nadu Film Development Corporation."

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