The Kerala film chamber has taken a stand that it will not open theatres in the state even though the government has granted permission to open theatres from January 5 with 50 per cent capacity. The government has also ordered to adhere to the strict Covid-19 protocols and to periodically sanitise the theatres. The film chamber has said that it will not be in a position to open the theatres without any proper decision on entertainment tax by the government. The chamber and the theatre owners demand that entertainment tax must not be collected by the government to which there was no proper communication from the state government.
The office-bearers of the theatre owners' association said that opening theatres with 50 per cent capacity and paying entertainment tax is not a feasible option. The government has also fixed the timing for screening movies from 9 am to 9 pm, which is not acceptable to the theatre owners as they feel that late-night shows draw maximum customers.
Siyad Kokkar, a senior producer and former President of the film chamber, told IANS over the phone, "I don't know how we can maintain the theatres without the government foregoing the entertainment tax and not allowing them to operate in full capacity. We are under tremendous tension as theatres have remained shut in the state since March 2020 while the overheads have almost remained the same."
It may be noted that the Tamil film "Master", starring superstar Vijay, is set for global release on January 13. However, theatre owners have categorically ruled out the release of films from other states, including "Master".