Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will be convening a meeting with various Kerala film bodies in Thiruvananthapuram at 10 am on Monday. The move comes days after Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) decided against opening theatres despite State government clearance.
Reportedly, representative members of KFCC, Film Exhibitors United Organization of Kerala (FEUOK), Kerala Film Distributors Association and Kerala Film Producers Associations will be partaking in the meeting with the Chief Minister. A key discussion in the meeting is likely to be a relief package for the film industry. Due to the Covid-19, the film chamber sought a relief package to cover up the losses incurred during the lockdown.
The film bodies also put forward several other demands. One demand is the exemption of entertainment tax on tickets which is imposed in addition to the GST. The film bodies are unhappy that the government has not taken a proper decision regarding the entertainment tax. Theatre owners’ association office bearers have said that they do not find it feasible to pay entertainment tax and open theatres with just 50% capacity. The association has also demanded extension of the license period for theatres.
Another demand is that the film bodies have also asked the government to waive off the electricity charges incurred in cinema halls during the lockdown Also, the government stated that theatres can open from 9 am to 9 pm. This also hasn’t gone down well with the theatre owners as many moviegoers prefer late-night shows.
On January 6, the KFCC decided against opening theatres in the state despite the government granting permission to open the theatres with 50% occupancy from January 5.
The KFCC decided that until the Kerala government meets their demands, the cinema theatres will remain closed. Despite neighbouring states allowing cinema theatres and multiplexes to open for business in October last year, the Kerala government only granted permission last week with restrictions.