The Central Government’s decision to slash GST rates for Cinema has come as welcome relief for theatres across Tamil Nadu. Film Theatre Owners Association Secretary R Panneerselvam told Silverscreen that the reduction in ticket rates due to the decrease in GST would benefit the audience greatly. “Earlier, higher range tickets were around Rs 207, which is quite high for middle class people. It was not affordable. In Tamil Nadu, Cinema is our pastime. It was economical before the GST but in the past year, it became quite expensive for everybody concerned.”
A Local Body Entertainment Tax of 8 percent was levied on top of the GST on film tickets in TN. Now the GST has been reduced from 28 percent to 18 percent for tickets above Rs 100 and from 18 percent to 12 percent on tickets priced upto Rs 100.
A spokesperson for PVR Cinemas told Silverscreen that the decrease in GST slab for Cinema would help them get more crowds on weekdays. “When the ticket prices touched Rs 200, we observed a decline in the weekday crowds. It won’t be the same issue now on. We hope to capitalise on this new initiative of the Government.”
Panneerselvam says that they are requesting the Government to do away with taxation for Cinema altogether. “It would really help producers and theatre owners across Tamil Nadu. Even if they don’t do away with entertainment tax, they could already lower it even further. But for now their latest decision to decrease is a very good one.”
The new ticket prices are expected to be in place from January 1, 2019. The Theatre Owners Association is working in tandem with the State Government on the new rates. They will be made public once the State Government clears the new rates, Panneerselvam said.
Film Employees Federation of South India has been lobbying for a decrease of GST for a long time now. The spokesperson for the organisation said that they were excited that there has been some changes in the attitude of the Government towards Cinema, and that they will continue to dialogue with the Government to help further lower the taxation. “It will benefit the common man if we work together to decrease taxation,” the spokesperson added.