The Andhra Pradesh government, led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, passed a bill on Wednesday forbidding over-the-counter sale of movie tickets, making it mandatory to sell them only through the State-run online booking platform.
With the new system, tickets can be booked for any theatre by making a call, sending an SMS, or online, similar to train ticket bookings, Minister for Information and Public Relations Perni Venkatramaiah (aka Nani), told the media. He added that the system will be “user-friendly” and convenient for the customers.
According to Hindustan Times, Andhra Pradesh becomes the first state in India to take over the sale of movie tickets in an effort to minimise tax evasion.
“Now, producers and distributors cannot avoid payment of taxes to the government. Since the portal is managed by the State-run corporation, payment will be made to the theatres through the Reserve Bank of India gateway on a day-to-day basis,” Hindustan Times quotes the minister as saying.
The new online portal will be run by the state’s film and theatre development corporation.
AP Assembly unanimously passed the Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) (Amendment) Act, 2021 through a voice vote.
The bill will be introduced for passage at the state’s legislative council on Thursday, before being sent to the governor for assent.
Nani, who introduced the bill on behalf of the government, also said that theatres will not be allowed to run more than four shows per day, for any film. He added that exhibitors have thus far been running additional shows – as many as six or more per day – and collecting Rs 500-1000 per ticket in the name of “benefit shows.”
Stressing that the new system will not allow such activities, the minister noted that films will be screened only during prescribed timings and tickets will be sold at prices fixed by the government. In April, the AP government capped movie ticket prices at Rs 250 based on an order from the High Court.
The plan for the online system was earlier welcomed by prominent members of the Telugu film industry, including producers Dil Raju and C Kalyan, and studio owner G Adiseshagiri Rao.
On Thursday, actor Chiranjeevi, shared a note addressed to the AP government on social media, expressing his approval of the online system which will ensure “transparency.” However, while he is in favour of the government regulation thus imposed, the actor added a request that the ticket prices should be re-evaluated from time to time in the best interest of all.