Bengaluru–A day after the Karnataka government proposed to cap ticket rates in cinema halls and multiplexes at Rs 200, there was a mixed response on Thursday, with the Kannada film fraternity welcoming it while others opposed it.
“It’s a good proposal, as the objective is not to deprive the common man of watching films at multiplexes, where tickets are priced exorbitantly between Rs 200 and Rs 850. The cap will not apply to single-screen theatres,” Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce ex-President K.V. Chandrasekhar told IANS here.
Chandrashekar is also owner of Veerash theatre in the city’s northwest suburb.
Presenting the 2017-18 Budget in the assembly on Wednesday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his government will prescribe Rs 200 as maximum price for tickets in all cinema theatres, including multiplexes, across the state.
There are 650 single-screen theatres and 90 multiplexes with multi-screen across the state, including 100 theatres and 20 multiplexes in Bengaluru.
“The decision to cap movie tickets is foolish. If implemented, owners of multiplexes will suffer huge loss, as they have invested crores of rupees in building them. The cap should have come before the multiplexes were built,” lamented Venkateshwara Reddy, owner of Mukunda theatre in the city’s northeast suburb.
The high cost of tickets in multiplexes, which surge for prime time shows, deter common people from watching their favourite films though many of them are centrally located in shopping malls across cities.
When a similar cap was enforced in Maharashtra and the Multiplexes’ Association and Marathi Films Association challenged it in July 2009, the Supreme Court upheld it, ruling that the state government was competent to regulate or control the prices of movie tickets in theatres and multiplexes.
Officials of multiplexes PVR Cinemas and Inox Mantri Mall in the city’s upscale suburbs Koramangla and Malleshwaram declined to comment.
“I am not aware of the Budget proposal to cap price of movie tickets at Rs 200. I am yet to receive the circular,” said the PVR manager.
The Chief Minister also declared that regional language films of Tulu, Konkani, Beary, Kodava and Banjaa have to be screened compulsorily along with Kannada movies during prime time — between 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“Multiplexes screen other language films during prime time, while Kannada films are shown either during morning or evening when footall is low,” said KFCC President Sa Ra Govindu.
Bengaluru being cosmopolitan, majority of theatres and multiplexes across the city screen mostly English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu films round the year.
According to Kannada films director T.S. Nagabahrana, Marathi films became popular again in Maharashtra after multiplexes in Mumbai screened them following the apex court’s direction.