Kerala Film Chamber decides against reopening of theatres

The problems stemming from COVID-induced disruption affect the Kerala film industry. Theaters remain closed despite reopening with a 50 percent cap on state government occupation.

Members of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) met in Kochi on Wednesday to decide on the reopening of theaters in Kerala. And, they have decided not to resume screening in the state until their demands are met by the government.

The association has demanded a relief package from the government as the box office took a major hit following a coronovirus-induced lockdown. Even as neighboring states allowed theaters to resume business from last October, the Kerala government also did not allow it. Only last week, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan gave permission to operate theaters and multiplexes with some restrictions.

While many thought it would bring cheers to battered producers, exhibitors and distributors, the government announcement seems to have upset them. KFCC members are disappointed that the government did not provide any relief package to help the film industry, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees.

Theater owners have requested the government to waive the electric charge levied by theaters during the lockdown period. And they have also demanded a complete exemption on entertainment tax.

Meanwhile, an internal conflict is also going on between producers and theater owners. According to TV reports, theater owners owe around Rs 16 crore for the films released before Kovid. But, the exhibitors claim that the payable does not exceed Rs 4.25 crore.

The following week he was hoping to make some profit by rejoining Vijay’s much-awaited film Master. Vijay’s huge fans were betting on getting the crowd back in the state at the box office. It remains to be seen whether the theater owners will achieve any success in opening talks with the government before January 13 or open the screen for the master.

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