Theatre strike in Kerala
Theatre strike in KeralaCin├ępolis VIP/Facebook

Just days ahead of Christmas, the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF) has planned to shut down all A-class theatres from Monday, 14 December against the government's levy of Rs 3 as cess per ticket.

According to the Kerala government, the cess will be collected for Kerala State Cultural Activists Fund Board (KSCAFB) in order to help poor artists of the industry with monthly pension.

If the strike is not withdrawn soon, many awaited Christmas releases will get affected.

Malayalam films, including Dulquer Salmaan's "Charlie", Dhyan Sreenivasan's "Adi Kapyare Kootamani", Dileep's "Two Countries", Unni Mukundan's "Style", Manju Warrier's "Jo and the Boy" are scheduled to hit the Kerala box office this Christmas season.

Even Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's much awaited project "Dilwale" is expected to release in more than 111 screens in Kerala.

Meanwhile, criticising the attitude of Liberty Basheer, who heads KFEF, G Suresh Kumar, who is the chairman of Kerala Cultural Welfare Board (KCWB) said that the strike is just a pressure tactic.

"The KFEF states that the strike is being organised in protest against the Rs 3 cess levied by the government on movie tickets. However, an administrative decision in this regard was taken almost four years ago. So, the strike is not against the cess, but is part of a hidden agenda to prevent the launch of e-ticketing facility in theatres. Certain quarters with vested interests are against the e-ticketing system, wherein the sale of ticket will be recorded directly online and the bar-coded tickets will ensure more transparency. Exhibitors who do not want to share collection details in a transparent manner are promoting the strike," Suresh Kumar said.