On the stage of Sreekaram movie grand release event, noted director Harish Shankar made a request to the Telangana State minister, KTR to consider giving a tax exemption for the film. The Sharwanand starrer is a film about farmers and their plight and the modern techniques that can be used to improve their situation. Certainly a praiseworthy theme for a commercial film. The minister diplomatically responded. He said the time to take a call is less but he’ll consider the request.
Expecting tax exemptions for certain films is no wrong. But asking for tax exemptions for commercially made films which are charging double to triple the actual ticket price in the first few days or couple of weeks? Even at the current ticket prices, except for the youth and regular movie buffs, families are not watching films except in case of films with highly positive reviews. Hiking ticket prices is alienating them further and reducing your audience.
Cinema is a mass medium and is a highly influential tool. It’s good on the part of the makers to make films on topical and socially relevant subjects. Cinemas can make lesser known aspects popular. They can make people think. We know a book titled My Father Balaiah becoming a sudden Bestseller courtesy it’s appearance in the film Kabali where Rajinikanth is seen reading it. This even led to an awareness about Dalit lives among the youth.
So, cinemas should reach more people to spread the message. For that the makers must make sure the film is watched by as many people as possible. Young and impressionable minds are in schools, and it is better to arrange special shows to high school students at a special discount. Youth and IT professionals (not all, but the Neo Rich)who actually need to be made aware of the plight of the farmers. So, you need to make them watch the film with affordable prices. This will make them vote for you with their wallets.
Of course, a section of the audience can afford high ticket prices but making the film accessible to all sections of the audience is the best way to go. If the makers consider all these factors, they can ask for tax exemptions as they’re risking losses to bring a good concept to as many people as follows. Otherwise, cinema, which is the primary source of entertainment for many nowadays becoming more and more expensive. And if they ask for tax exemptions and other rebates, they must be ready to face the ire of... well fans of cinemas. If not now, in near future.