The entire film fraternity throughout the country today participated in a symbolic one day protest against the Union Government’s decision to levy a 10.3% service tax on films. In connection with it, the theatres did not screen movies today and all shooting, pre-production and post-production work was put on hold. The protest had the support of technicians, directors, producers, distributors, exhibitors, artistes and all those connected to the film industry. In Chennai, a sit in protest was staged at the Film Chamber of Commerce in Anna Salai. The protest was attended by Abhirami Ramanathan, FEFSI secretary G.Siva, Nadigar Sangam president Sarath Kumar, director Ameer and actors Vijay and Jeyam Ravi among others.
Speaking at the occasion, G.Siva said that the industry has been going through a crisis, and the proposed 10.3% service tax is a major blow. He asked the authorities to reconsider the decision. Sarath Kumar said that if the Union Government did not accede to these demands and withdraw the tax, a much larger protest in Delhi will be planned. Abhirami Ramanathan said that since the budgets of different movies varied hugely, the only way to impose a uniform tax structure was by raising ticket rates, which would affect the consumer and therefore the business.
Ameer said that the government was being misled to think that the film industry was in great shape because of the inflated collection statistics being posted by some of the producers.
He said that these figures were only advertisements for the film and should not be taken at face value. He added that only a few films actually managed to post the numbers that were being claimed by the producers. The film industry, he said, is in a state of terminal decline and such moves to levy further taxes will only deteriorate the condition.