Mumbai: In the wake of Government’s proposal to levy service tax on films made in India, the Film Federation of India (FFI) has called for a nationwide bandh on February 23. The film fraternity has called for a daylong token strike across the country to protest the service tax imposed on it.
An industry insider, talking to a daily said, “While the cinema industry would definitely suffer due to the strike, most members of the fraternity have decided to support it. The imposition of service tax will cripple the filmmaking process. The Central Government has proposed a service tax of nearly 10.3 per cent. This is not a small percentage. The budget of many films would be hit rather badly.”
Ratan Jain, a well known Bollywood filmmaker however said that strike might not really help their cause. He said, “I have received a letter in this regard. A strike is not the right answer to our woes in this regard. The strike would only make us lose money. A proper representation by the film industry which can address the Finance Ministry would be the right way to solve this.”
But Bolywood biggies like Madhur Bhandarkar, Mahesh Bhatt are in favour of the strike with Ramesh Sippy even insisting that only an indefinite strike will work at this stage. He said, “The Film Producer`s Guild and other associations most probably will go with this decision. My personal opinion, however, is that we should go on an indefinite strike. This service tax is going to be a huge burden on filmmakers. We are already levied with taxes including entertainment tax; this is going to be a heavier burden.”
Meanwhile Mahesh Bhatt added, “The government has been apathetic to the film industry. Add to this the service tax, which is certainly not welcome. We need to shut shop so that the government sits up and takes notice of this.”