In a bid to discuss a lesser Goods & Services Tax (GST) for the film industry, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Pahlaj Nihalani met with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis along with a few producers. With 28% GST to be levied on movie tickets, Nihalani met with the politician in the middle of the night, to talk about the many reservations the industry has about the upcoming tax initiative.
Speaking to Mid Day, he said, “We are thankful to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for meeting us at such a short notice. State finance minister Sudhir Mungatiwar was also present in the meeting. The NDA government has always been supportive of the film industry. It was this government that even recognised us as an industry.”
About the meeting, Nihalani said that he highlighted how the 28% would affect the industry. Dharma Productions’ CEO Apoorva Mehta, head of Tips, Ramesh Taurani, producers Babloo Pachisia and Vijay Galani, and FOX Star Studios’ CEO Vijay Singh were reportedly part of the meeting as well.
The CM has reportedly promised that he would approach the government and let them know of the industry’s concerns.
The GST comes as a huge setback for the film industry. The industry had earlier proposed a 5% tax to the government, to help revive businesses struggling owing to lack of new investments in screens, and increase in online piracy. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, who is also the President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India, released a statement condemning the move by the Central Government.
Even actor Kamal Haasan, who arranged a press conference before the weekend, said that a GST as high as 28 percent will ruin the regional film industry. “Tamil cinema has little market outside the country. They cannot afford to pay this kind of tax. Regional cinema makes Indian diversity strong. You can’t introduce a monoculture in a country like India,” he said.