Karnataka government scripts revival story for Kannada film industry | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: The state government is considering a host of measures to support and promote the Kannada film industry and theatres, which have taken a huge financial hit because of the Covid-19 crisis. Some steps under review are capping movie tickets at Rs 200, which could help revive demand when cinemas reopen, and setting up mini-theatres that will show only Kannada films.

“The state government understands the problems of the film industry and will soon formulate a comprehensive policy to offer incentives and concessions to help it to recover,” said deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who interacted with two delegations from the sector. He added he would consult chief minister BS Yediyurappa on the issue.
Normally, 250 Kannada movies are released every year and the industry employs about 20,000 people across departments. The annual turnover is about Rs 1,000 crore. “Fresh thinking and leadership will drive the revival of the sector. There have been a number of interactions between the government and industry stakeholders, we expect that to translate into a new policy for Kannada movies,” said DR Jairaj, president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce.
The Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy had submitted a draft policy to promote the industry in 2017. Veteran filmmaker SV Rajendra Singh Babu was the academy’s chairman at the time. The government is now looking at modifying this policy and introducing relief measures, said officials in the state information department. It is expected to offer tax concessions such as reimbursement of state GST component on movie tickets. In another move, it will encourage small theatres with 150 seats in semi-urban and rural areas. To support big-budget movies and their worldwide marketing, Karnataka will create a single-window agency to process clearances for film shooting, financing and other aspects.
Industry representatives have sought a special financial package as a short-term measure in wake of the pandemic. Some other demands: payouts of Rs 5,000 per month to labourers for the lockdown period and waiver of demand charges on utilities (electricity and water). Theatre owners have also requested waiver of property tax and licence fee for a year.
“Film exhibition is a huge segment that employs around 12,000 workers in about 650 single-screen theatres across Karnataka. The government should treat it as an industry and offer it facilities granted to micro, small and medium enterprises,” said KV Chandrasekhar, president of the Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Association.

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