Tamil actor and icon Rajinikanth stepped in to save the cinema industry of Tamil Nadu where more than 1,000 theatres have been closed for the last two days in protest against 30% state tax and 28% central GST.
In response to the strike, he said, “Keeping in mind the livelihood of lakhs of people in the Tamil film industry, I sincerely request the TN Govt to seriously consider our plea.” Rajinikanth is in Mumbai shooting for a new film and his remark is seen as an indication of his imminent entry into politics.
In Chennai, veteran actor and filmmaker Kamal Haasan expressed similar view on film making in Tamil Nadu. “There are further tortures and systemic corruption that the film industry has to endure under this regime,” he said comparing the fact that there is no additional tax imposed in neighbouring states on cinema theatres apart from the CGST.
“The tax rate on tickets is 58 percent, the highest in the country. It is a burden on movie-goers and defeats the objective of the new tax regime,” said Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association President Abhirami Ramanathan.
GST, rolled out on July 1, imposed 28% tax on cinema theatres but simultaneously, the Tamil Nadu state government has announced another 30%, which cinema theatre owners said without any prior consultations with the industry. Since Sunday, about 1,000 cinema theatres are shut down in the state and no films are being screened.