Govt. not taking film industry problems seriously: Chopra

MUMBAI: The film industry and its problems were unfortunately not being taken seriously by the Central Government, particularly at this present juncture when it is passing through a crisis, FICCI Entertainment Committee Chairman Yash Chopra said here.

Addressing the inaugural session of FICCI Frames 2011, Chopra said however that the emergence of new talent of writers, directors, actors or technicians augured well for the industry. “Our future is in safe hands. They have passion, confidence, style and technique.”

FICCI President Harsh Mariwala said films give the young generation a voice. He offered the example of ‘No one Killed Jessica’. The level of technology being used in films has improved vastly, as films like ‘Robot’ had shown. 

The FICCI KPMG report notes that box office collections were poor due to lack of quality content. Movies with original storylines and content which kept in mind an audience that was constantly evolving gained wider acknowledgment even if they were small or medium budget films. This year proved that there was a market for films without stars.

The report further added: ‘You could also bank on new talent for success. The home video market saw a big decline in revenues. Revenues for a film from cable and satellite area grew by 33 per cent. On a more positive note 2010 was a year when film companies explored previously untapped markets. A good example was the strategy Fox Star adopted for My Name Is Khan. It is expected to open in markets like Korea. The key challenges for the film industry include escalating rental costs, coming to a healthy revenue sharing arrangement, and competition from cricket. This has created an eight-week black window for multiplexes.’

Single screens will also face a tough time, says KPMG. On a more positive note, the growth drivers include urbanization and a growing middle class. A better viewing experience will also help, the report says.

Mariwala added that FICCI was engaging in a dialogue with the government for things like a Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the entertainment industry without having a separate tax at a local level. They are also pushing for a favourable tax on DTH which is high at 30 to 40 per cent. As far as the print medium is concerned, he said that unlike other countries, the print medium here grew last year by 10 per cent. “Regulation has helped foreign investment in print.”

Chopra noted FICCI FRAMES had grown over the past 12 years from an idea to a movement. “It is a platform where like-minded people share views, problems."

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