Rift in Tollywood over AP move to cap shows, ticket prices
Tollywood (Telugu film industry) faces an internal rift even as it engaged in talks with the Andhra Pradesh government on issues related to the pricing and sale of tickets on a government portal.
Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan took on the State government, alleging that he was the target and that it was making the whole industry suffer in this process. His outbursts triggered a row, with several Andhra Pradesh Ministers rebutting the charges.
While a majority of the actors and producers chose to keep mum, actors Nani and Kartikeya backed Kalyan’s views, and wanted the government to address the issues raised by him.
With the situation going out of control, the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce issued a statement, distancing itself from Kalyan’s comments. “Various individuals have expressed their views, opinions and anguish on different platforms. These are not the voices of the industry as a whole,” said Narayandas Kishandas Narang, President of the chamber.
The issue started when the Andhra Pradesh government issued a government order recently, hinting that it plans to set up a portal for selling tickets online. It argued that this would help ensure transparency.
AP’s Information and Public Relations Minister, Perni Nani, asserted that the government would only run the portal on which theatres could sell their tickets. He also contended that it was the film industry that wanted the government to establish such a portal. In another order, the government has revised ticket prices, much to the disappointment of the film industry. It has been a practice to inflate prices in the first few days after the release of big budget movies to cash in on the frenzy.
Pawan Kalyan, President of Jana Sena, would be among the top 4-5 actors who would stand to lose with the capping of ticket prices and restriction on the number of shows to be screened in a day. Hit by the Covid pandemic over the last 18 months, the film industry awaits favourable environment for the release of some big ticket releases, including Chiranjeevi’s Acharya.
Pawan Kalyan, Mahesh Babu, Junior NTR, Ramcharan and Allu Arjun, too, have a solid line-up of films in the next 12 months.
“Keeping aside the political differences between Pawan Kalyan sir and AP government. The film industry issues addressed are genuine and needs immediate attention,” actor Nani tweeted in support of Pawan Kalyan.
Stating that the AP government had been attentive to the concerns addressed by the industry, Narang pleaded for support from “our leaders and governments to extend their continued support to us”.