The theatres in Tamil Nadu began an indefinite strike from Monday, 3 July, demanding the state government not to burden them with dual taxation. The exhibitors are facing the heat after Goods and Service Tax (GST) was rolled out even as the state government failed to abolish the local taxes.
The first victim of the strike is Gautham Karthik's Ivan Thanthiran which was released on Friday, 30 June. The film was released just three days ago and the opening week plays a major role in recovering the investment. The bandh came as a death blow to the film.
Dhananjayan Govind, the distributor of Ivan Thanthiran, shared his plight on Twitter. He wrote, "Very sad & in a state of shock. Despite my multiple attempts, theatres in TN going on strike tomorrow. #IvanThanthiran will not be there. [sic]" He continued, "#IvanThanthiran - we can only give a good film. Beyond that what can be done when the whole system is collapsing. Deeply disturbed. [sic]"
He requested people to not entertain piracy and watch Ivan Thanthiran only in theatres after the issue is resolved. "Until the situation is resolved, we appeal to people of TN not to watch #IvanThanthiran in Online/Pirated DVDs. Pl. encourage good cinema. [sic]"
The theatre owners have called for the bandh after the state government failed to scrap 30 percent entertainment tax following the implementation of GST from July 1. Now, the dual taxation with a cap on movie tickets means 48-58 percent of a film's revenue will be collected as taxes leaving peanuts for the distributors and exhibitors.
With the GST implementation, movie tickets lesser than Rs 100 will come under 18 percent slab and above Rs 100 will be levied 28 percent tax. Above it, the Tamil Nadu government has 30 percent entertainment tax.
While the Kerala and Karnataka film industries have abolished the entertainment tax, the Tamil Nadu government is yet to take a decision on it.