Online booking for Bengali films temporarily stops post-GST

25 Jul 2017

With GST implementation and decision of the West Bengal government to offer rebate, online booking of Bengali films has been stopped temporarily in multiplexes though the effect has been marginal, multiplex authorities said today.
"Since the online booking of Bengali films never crossed the double digit figure, we are not suffering the pinch post-GST roll out. Bengali films comprise a small segment of the plex market here," regional general manager of Inox Leisure Ltd, Subhasis Ganguli told news agency PTI. "When you come to the box office, for the Rs 190 displayed priced ticket, you may be actually charged Rs 176 for all practical purposes and the rebate is passed to the viewer of a Bengali movie," Ganguly said explaining the new pricing formula. "But this is not immediately possible for online booking of Bengali movies and hence we stopped online booking," he said.
"We are, however, working on it to pass on the government's rebate to the Bengali film audience. We are also working with to set things in order," he said. "In any case, ticket booking for Bengali films has never been so high from overall perspective," Ganguly pointed out. Ganguly, whose 9 Inox multiplexes have been screening recent Bengali releases as well as Hindi and English films, said, "We had been screening content-rich good films since the GST came into effect on July 1. And we primarily screen Hindi films." The Inox Leisure also has plexes in Burdwan, Siliguri and Darjeeling in the state.
"Most of our plexes are in line with their budget meeting the target from 90 per cent to 100 per cent having screened films for niche audiences. With bigger releases lined up in August we can feel the real effect of GST afterwards," he added. Striking a different note, the owner of leading distributor Priya Entertainments and premier single screen Priya Theatres, Arijit Dutta said, "My south Kolkata single screen has been doing online booking as usual." "I think it hinges on the intention of the hall authorities. If they wish, they can carry on online booking adapting to the changes," he said.
However, it was taking longer time for the audience at booking theatres since they are paying the displayed price first and then given the refund after the man at the counter calculates the rebate amount," he said. Dutta also said, the GST, despite the rebate cushion, will strike a blow to the Bengali film exhibitors in the long run by slashing their revenue amount. The West Bengal government had announced on June 28 that of the GST-mandated 18 per cent tax on cinema tickets of up to Rs 100, the state would keep the nine per cent tax and out of that, a rebate of seven per cent would be offered to viewers. Similarly, for movie tickets valued above Rs 100, the entertainment tax after the GST implementation would be 28 per cent.
For such tickets the state would offer a rebate of 12 per cent on its share of 14 per cent of entertainment tax. PTI