Striking the Heart of Chennai

Swetha Ramesh, I Year B.A. English

Movie theatres are the temples of ardent film lovers – it is the place where we cheer our favourite stars when they appear on the screen, and is also the place where we experience intense emotions even though we are not actually the ones caught in the middle of a troublesome situation. For some, the theatre is where they can soak up the whole ‘watching a movie’ experience and for others it is the place where they can eat some delicious butter popcorn and forget the perils of their lives while they enjoy a movie.

The recent theatre strike held during the first week of October was a real damper to the excitement and festive spirits of those ready to celebrate Diwali in high expectations. Multiplexes like PVR and INOX shut down to protest against the additional 30 percent taxes levied by the Tamil Nadu Government after the introduction of the GST. The companies stated that additional taxes meant an “increase in the cost of cinema exhibition” which would lead to a drastic fall in the number of people watching movies in the theatre, which would eventually lead to low profit rates.

They also said that it went against the “One Nation-One Tax” policy. Their underlying concern is also apparent as these are the only two multiplexes on strike and if they agree to the additional taxes in Tamil Nadu, then they will be forced to play into the hands of other states if and when they add more taxes after the GST.

What does this mean for passionate film lovers and movie-goers? Well, a significant reduce in the number of theatres would mean that we may not get to watch the movies we are waiting for in the initial days of its release, and the popcorn would also have to be put on hold. Then, the spoilers begin streaming in as people, in the name of reviews, begin telling us the entire storyline, completely spoiling the experience for someone who simply wishes to watch the movie in peace without knowing what happens next. However, with the strike having been called off for now, Chennai can resume its celebrations and relish the popcorn while it’s still fresh.


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