Even as the imposition of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) completes 18 months this week, filmmakers are rejoicing after the taxes have been reduced to 18 percent from 28 per cent for tickets above Rs 100 and from 18 per cent to 12 per cent from tickets under Rs 100.
This reduction took place after a team of actors and producers including Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar met with prime minister Narendra Modi to speak about issues plaguing the film industry.
“It is a good sign for the industry and specially the filmmakers and the audiences because it means that people will come back to the theatres. It was observed that people had started watching lesser films in the theatres and didn’t want to sample the films earlier and waited for a word of mouth before deciding to spend money on tickets and popcorn. Now, we do expect that to change,” says National award-winning filmmaker Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan.
The president of the Producers Guild of India Siddharth Roy Kapoor also hailed the decision of the government in a media release. “This will help the industry move forward positively with increased investments in both exhibition infrastructure and creative development, enabling even better cinema and screen density across the country,” said the release.
The editor of Complete Cinema Atul Mohan, said that the film trade is also elated. “Earlier the taxes were around 40 per cent in some states and lesser in some other. There was a reduction and a uniformity as well after GST was implemented last year. But now, it is a far better situation as the GST is jus 18 or 12 percent,” he says but not without sounding the word of caution. “Tamil Nadu imposed the Local Body Tax (LBT) above the GST. They have every right to do so, but the audience dwindles in such cases. Unlike Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the rest of the country is not as mad about movies when it comes to buying tickets at the box office. If other states also impost LBT then the prices will go up again and we will be back to square one,” he warns.
The new GST will be implemented by January 1 after all states are intimated about the same by the GST council.