Diwali is not just a festival of lights, but also a jackpot season for Bollywood films. Well, it seems that this Diwali will not be the usual for Bollywood, courtesy the strike that’s expected to start from September 12, w.r.t. the single screen theatres. For the uninitiated, the theatre owners are warring against each other in protest against two fronts. Firstly, the extremely high entertainment tax they are forced to pay and secondly, Maharashtra government not allowing a ‘change of user’ policy.
Talking about this, R. V. Vidhani President, COEAI (Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association India) said that they have issued an ultimatum to the government. He also questioned that considering the high amount of taxes that they pay and modest ticket rates, how can every single screen owner earn substantial revenue and survive. In the same breath, Nitin Datar, VP of COEAI, said that they need to be given concessions immediately. He also added that the taxes add up to 56%. He pointed out that with the shutting down of Novelty, Swastik, Naaz, Minerva, Ganga-Jamuna and many other single screens in Mumbai, this just doesn’t seem to be a healthy trend.
Commenting about the second demand, Vidhani said that the single screens that are doing well can continue but those that are not, reserve the right to shut down and move on. He also felt that one can’t force somebody to keep a property just like that. It’s a known fact that even though multiplexes help filmmakers get revenue only in the first few days of the film, it’s the single screens where films run for several weeks.
With several big films set to release in next few weeks, it remains to be seen whether the issue gets sorted, as the strike by single screens can cause serious dent to Bollywood’s revenue at the BO.