Dayal Padmanabhan
A picture of Dayal Padmanabhan.Dayal Padmanabhan Facebook Account

Actor-filmmaker Dayal Padmanabhan has started an online campaign demanding that the Karnataka government cap ticket prices in multiplexes. His online petition has got good response, with over 30,000 people signing it.

Dayal Padmanabhan is not happy about varying ticket prices charged at multiplexes in the state. He wants the prices to be fixed at Rs 120, and a committee has recommended it as well. 

Even as his campaign gains steam, Dayal Padmanabhan spoke to International Business Times, India. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:

What made you to take up the issue?
I have started the campaign on behalf of the common man. The audience is being forced to pay huge prices during weekends and the admission rates reach as high as Rs 800-900 at some multiplexes. This does not help the industry as well as consumers in any way. Middle-class people are finding it difficult to watch films in multiplexes because of the exorbitant prices charged by them. Hence, I initiated the campaign and am trying to be the voice of the people.

Do you think capping ticket prices will benefit the industry?
Capping ticket prices will boost the business of multiplexes, producers and distributors due to the increase in footfall. If a state like Tamil Nadu can have such a model, I do not understand why we cannot adopt it here.

Your recent movie "Actor" had faced issues in some multiplexes. Is this why you initiated the campaign?
It is one of the reasons I took up the issue. As a filmmaker, I know my audience and also understand how to recover my investment. Some of my recent films were experimental in nature and I am aware of the risk involved in them.

"Actor" was not meant for only the multiplex audience, and such issues will not have much impact on my film. But I am not happy with the way small movies are being killed by them.

Let me also tell you this: Yash-starrer "Mr and Mrs Ramachari" did record business in the state. Take a closer look, and you see it earned 80 percent of the revenue from single screens and not multiplexes! It clearly shows higher ticket prices are a major reason the audience are not turning up at multiplexes.

What do you think of the response your campaign has got so far?
I am extremely thankful to the people and media who have supported me. I am happy with the response I have received so far from the audience. This only goes to show majority of the people want ticket prices to be capped.

Some are suggesting a price cap on tickets of only Kannada movies even though the Competition Commission of India may have objections.
I will be happy if the ticket will be capped at Rs 120 for all language movies. Even if the government wants to have different rates for non-Kannada movies, I will be okay if the price fixed is reasonable.

Producer Yogesh Dwarakish has a different view on the issue. What do you think of it?
It appears Yogesh Dwarakish has not done proper research on the issue. I know him as a friend and I suspect his views have been influenced. He also spoke on capping of ticket prices in a different tone when speaking on a radio channel.

What if the state government does not accept your demands?
It is not just me. The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and the Kannada Chalana Chitra Academy have also recommended it. Hopefully, the government will understand the issue and accept our proposal. My fight will continue even if it is not accepted.