In the wake of release of a new Diwali movie, has opened up the Pandora’s’ box to many unanswered issues. In a famous theatre in Chennai, prior to the release of the said movie, the fans who were standing in the queue to buy tickets were lathi charged by the police as their unruliness could not be managed by the theatre staff. Movie “Kaala” when got released people bought tickets for Rs.1500/- for the three days of its release because the fans have to see their super star on the silver screen. This time around the fans were even prepared to pay Rs.5000/- for a show in their favourite theatre. Why is this happening time and again whenever a top actors’ movie gets released?

Let’s delve into the very many cumulative factors that goes into this situation.

This by itself will explain why the tickets costs are being loaded on to the fans much to their ignorance and the overriding craze to see their favourite stars’ movie on the first day, first show. Invariably it starts with the exorbitant fees charged by the stars in the forefront, the producers budget which is normally fixed for 70 days’ schedule would invariably go up,  by which, cost of production would increase for 150 days which is double the cost budgeted, the distribution cost of the movie to be released at the centres and lastly the theatres who have devised a formula that increase in the ticket price, so that money or advance to the distributors paid for the release of the movie, would be gotten back within the three days after the release.

Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka have had actor-turned Chief Ministers who have handled this situation in their own way is commendable. It was in the deceased Chief Minister Selvi Jayalalitha’s period they banned the blooming VCD piracy, as that would affect the producers’, distributors, theatre owners’ livelihood. Tamil Nadu is the first state in India to ban buying of pirated VCDs’ is worth mentioning as people would always choose to see the new films in the comfort of home rather than go to theatre when given a choice.  Past one or two years the Government also blocked all the internet sites who were uploading the latest movies, so that it would make people to go to movie theatres’. Our State Government was successful in that attempt too.

Despite all the efforts, it was reported that a challenge was made by an internet site to upload the Diwali release movie this year, within one day of its release and it did so. This situation has created a furore in the kollywood circles, where they have sought the State Government’s intervention in ticket pricing in the theatres’. The other suggestions being, top actors’ to reduce their fees, the producers’ to limit their budget and time limit, distributors’ council to give their support and co-operation not to fleece the theatre owners and lastly theatre owners to stop ticketing at an exorbitant rate. This morning, Minister for Information and publicity Shri Kadambur Raju, to whom these matters were taken and highlighted to, has taken note of the issues and confirmed, measures have been taken to reduce the ticket pricing and the matter can be brought under control with the Producers’ council, distributors’ council and the theatre owners’ concurrence and support in this issue. Let’s hope that cinema at theatre viewing is made less expensive in the near future, so that it is affordable and people can get to watch movies in the big screen

.-Vijayashree Ramesh

The writer is an advocate based at chennai