Protesting against the Kerala state government levying an entertainment tax in addition to GST (Goods and Services Tax), the trade unions of the Malayalam film industry will shut down theatres across the state on 14 November.
The decision follows Kerala finance minister Thomas Issac’s statement in the State Assembly on Monday that the entertainment tax cannot be rolled back. Issac was responding to a query submitted by Pala legislator and movie producer Mani C Kappan.
A report in The Hindu quoted M. Renjith, president of the KeralaFilm Producers’ Association as saying, “The proposed entertainment tax in addition to the tax rates under GST will affect the prospects of the Malayalam film industry.” All film shootings and production activities will also be stalled on November 14.
When the GST came into effect in July 2017, the state government had scrapped the entertainment tax. Now, on a ticket worth a Rs 100, 12 % GST is charged, and on a ticket that costs more than Rs 100, 18% GST is charged. In January 2019, Thomas Issac reintroduced a 10% entertainment tax, named the Local Body Entertainment Tax, in the movie ticket price, causing the movie ticket prices to soar.
On February 11, Mammootty, Mohanlal and FEFKA president B Unnikrishnan had visited chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, requesting the government to review the decision, citing that the tax hike would be affect the industry adversely.