Karnataka

Yet another theatre in Mysuru to shut down

Saraswathi theatre in Mysuru.   | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

Another single-screen theatre in Mysuru is slipping into oblivion. Saraswathi, in Saraswathipuram locality, is permanently stopping screening, disappointing movie goers, as it was one of the popular cinemas here.

Confirming this to The Hindu, M.R. Rajaram, Secretary, Mysuru Film Exhibitors’ Association, said one of the partners of the theatre told him that they were shutting down. The theatre had not resumed screening despite the government lifting curbs and allowing screening with 50 per cent capacity.

This is the fourth single-screen theatre after Sri Nagaraj, Shanthala and Lakshmi to permanently shut down. The first and second waves of COVID-19 have continued to sound the death knell to show business.

“Two more theatres are also planning to wind up as running a theatre has become difficult with extreme tax burden and meagre returns. The theatres would have shut down maybe after 10 years but they are closing now as the pandemic has caused their closure early with zero or limited business over lockdowns and curbs,” Mr. Rajaram explained.

He said that Mysuru may lose other single-screen theatres if the government failed to respond to their problems. Across the State, the theatres are in trouble and as many as 84 have ended their business in the last one-and-a-half years unable to bear losses. Only 580 theatres exist in the State.

The government’s assurance to allow screening with 100 per cent seating capacity will not help as the damage is already done and many more will shut down, unable to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

As far as Mysuru is concerned, the double taxation by the Mysuru City Corporation is one of the reasons and the repeated appeals to stop charging “super” commercial tax on properties including single-screen theatres have fallen on deaf ears. “How could an exhibitor pay ₹4 lakh to ₹5 lakh a year when the theatres were not doing business? How could we pay 100-150 per cent hike in taxes once in three years?” Mr. Rajaram, who is also the vice-president, Karnataka Film Exhibitors’ Federation, asked.

“The taxation problems and other issues raised with the local authorities and the government have remained unaddressed. It seems the government does not want this sector to sustain and survive. The next generation is reluctant to run the business with risks and pressures involved and uncertainties galore,” he said.

 

The revenue model has failed to sustain theatres and it is time the model was renegotiated so that the business continues, entertaining the audiences for coming generations, the exhibitors said.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:24:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/yet-another-theatre-to-shut-down/article36592035.ece

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