Kerala Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan here on Sunday assured doyens of the Malayalam film industry that his cabinet will take up the issue of reducing the 10 per cent entertainment tax, slapped in the recent budget presented by Finance Minister Thomas Issac last month.
Mammootty and Mohanlal as well as several leading names from Malayalam filmdom called on Vijayan and told him that the tax hike would be detrimental to the industry.
Issac had allowed the local bodies to collect 10 per cent entertainment tax on cinema tickets, causing distress to the film industry. It would increase prices of movie tickets, they said.
With 10 per cent fresh tax, the minimum price of ticket in a single-screen theatre would be Rs 125 and in multiplexes start at Rs 165.
Vijayan wrote on his Facebook page that Mammootty, Mohanlal and others briefed him on implications of the hiked tax.
The chief minister said he assured them on taking up the issue and that he would see that interests of the film industry were protected.
B. Unnikrishnan of the film directors' body, said they had a fruitful meeting with Vijayan.
"He (Vijayan) assured us that he will take this up at the next cabinet meeting and suitable modifications would be made," Unnikrishnan said.
The 10 percent tarriff termed the Local Body Entertainment Tax wil be collected in additional to the GST on movie tickets already present. The LBET which used to be collected by local bodies during the pre GST era was removed to avoid double taxation on the same commmodity (movie tickets). However, taking inspiration fromTamil Nadu which still imposes the local body tax, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac during his budget speech said that the Kerala government too would introduce this tax.
Several film bodies such as FEFKA (Film Employees Federation of Kerala) said that this would affect the industry as the footfall in theatres would automaticall increase with ticket prices soaring. He also added that smaller screens, independent directors and small budget films will be affected the worst.
(With inputs from IANS)