Exemption from service tax for films screened in theatres welcomed

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s decision on service tax exemption for films screened at theatres in his Union Budget speech has been welcomed by the film fraternity.

Independent film-maker Anwar Jamal, who has been honoured with a national award for his film Call of the Bhagirathi , said the Government has finally recognised Indian cinema as an art form.

“The Government has finally acknowledged that Indian cinema is not just a money-making business but also stands for creativity. The Government has done away with the service tax but it also must set up an organisation like the National Film Development Corporation of India which can encourage cinema. This organisation can take the initiative of providing budgets to fledgling film-makers who have the imagination and grey cells to make intelligent films.”

Describing the announcement as good news, Bollywood actor Sanjay Mishra said since cinema ticket prices would go down it would be beneficial to the low-income class. “It will be a big bonanza for middle class families which were spending Rs.1,000 to watch films in theatres,” added Sanjay, who had staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday to express solidarity with the middle class over the likely increase in prices of food and essential commodities after the announcement of the Union Budget. The dharna was used to promote his film Saare Jahaan Se Mehnga.

Not one to mince words, noted film and theatre actor Mohan Agashe said: “I do not know the whole story and am not in the business of producing films. One does not mind paying taxes, but what does the Government do with that money is the moot question. We have to go into the basics. Sometimes the Government announces such measures to gain popularity. Some of such announcements are real, others are fake. And I am absolutely clueless at whose behest this relief has been given to cinemagoers.”

  • Govt. has finally recognised Indian cinema as an art form: Independent film-maker Anwar Jamal

  • The move is a bonanza for the middle class: Bollywood actor Sanjay Mishra