Although the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce had circulated a letter to producers to shut down work on July 5, in protest against VAT and the service tax levied by the state government, the strike has been deferred. Some producers were reluctant to participate in the bandh when they realised that this shut down was meant to hike the ticket rates, instead of fighting against taxes, and they strongly objected to it.
“It’s nothing but a blackmailing tactic to hoodwink the AP government and demand a rise in ticket prices because most of the lessees who hold the 600-odd theatres in the state want immediate evasion. However, producers are against it as the viewership base has fallen to below 30 per cent,” says producer Nattikumar, spearheading the campaign against the ticket hike along with 200-odd small producers.
However, Vijayander Reddy, president of Telgangana Film Chamber of Commerce, denies any differences. “We have no differences. We wanted to fight together against the various taxes levied on producers and also safeguard exhibitors, who are shutting down as maintenance costs have increased ten-fold. So we planned a bandh to bring our plight to the notice of the state government,” he says. If the bandh takes place, 30 odd films on the floors such as Sitamavakitlo Sirimallechettu, Cameraman Ganga, Badshah, Sir Osthara, Rebel, Devudu Chesina Manushulu and Julayi will be affected; causing a loss of crores of rupees for the producers.