Several members of the Telugu film industry, including actor Chiranjeevi and filmmaker SS Rajamouli, met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday, in the wake of the ongoing tussle over the pricing of cinema tickets. During the meeting at Vijayawada, Reddy made an appeal to the film fraternity to consider shifting their base from Hyderabad in Telangana to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
The delegation of personalities also included actors Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, filmmaker Koratala Siva, producer Niranjana Reddy, and actor-filmmaker R Narayana Murthy, among others. This meeting notably took place ahead of the planned release of several big Telugu films in the coming months, including RRR, Radhe Shyam, Acharya, and Sarkaru Vaari Paata.
Currently, theatres in Andhra Pradesh are running at 50% occupancy, with the ticket prices capped by the state government. The Telugu film industry has been trying to discuss and change this state of affairs. Earlier, Chiranjeevi had also met with Reddy to speak about the same.
During the meeting on Thursday, Reddy proposed some concessions, such as relaxing the ticket cap for films with budgets of Rs 100 crore or more, and allowing five screenings per day at theatres.
The CM also appealed to the Telugu film industry to gradually shift their base to Vishakhapatnam. He promised that resources and other means of support will be extended to the industry, if they relocate to the port city. “We can give land to everyone and make it even more a bigger hub. Telangana contributes 35-40% to film industry, but Andhra contributes a lot more, in terms of revenue and population. We can provide land for houses and studios, and create a hub there. Vishakhapatnam is the biggest city we have, which can capably compete with Chennai and Bangalore, provided all of us go there and build it together,” said Reddy.
After the meeting, Chiranjeevi addressed the media and noted that they received positive feedback from Reddy, and have, for their part, agreed to help provide scope for low-budget films and to shoot more films in Visakhapatnam. “Hopefully, by the third week of February or the end of the month, the Government Order (with regards to ticket price, benefit shows etc) will be released,” the actor said.
Mahesh Babu expressed his gratitude to Chiranjeevi for initiating the discussion with the AP government on behalf of the industry. “All of us know that during the last 6-7 months, the Telugu film industry was in state of confusion, and now, it is such a relief. Sincere thanks to Minister (of Transport, Information & Public Relations) Perni Nani garu and YS Jagan garu. In a matter of a week or 10 days, you all will be hearing good news. The talks went well,” he added.
Rajamouli mentioned that he was “amazed” by Reddy’s understanding of how small and big films functioned. He too acknowledged Chiranjeevi’s efforts in initiating the conversation and also extended his gratitude to Reddy and Nani.