FFI takes up issues plaguing Indian film industry
The newly elected Executive Committee of Film Federation of India (FFI) met in Delhi recently to take up some urgent burning issues that have been plaguing the Indian Film Industry for quite some time now, such as, greater industry representation in Government bodies, more screens, restoring and rejuvenating single screens, localised Animal Welfare Board offices, boosting film tourism and more – all on FFI radar; but first and foremost, reclassifying the Indian Film Industry.
It's shocking how in the Government annals, the Indian Film Industry is seen as a sin industry, in line with beedi, tobacco, alcohol among others. This archaic classification has made the Indian Film Industry a ready and easy target for taxation. In the new GST regime, luxury goods and sin goods are taxed at the highest rate of 28%. It is only recently the Government has relaxed its stand and decided to lend a helping hand to the Industry in the form of partially relaxed GST on tickets, intent to create a Single Window Clearance for the industry, willingness to working jointly with the industry to curb piracy.
"FFI has always been a pro-active organisation and has worked together with the Government of the times since its inception," says President Firdaus ul Hasan, "FFI is more than willing to constructively help support and complement the Indian government in its efforts to strengthen Indian cinema".
One of the primary reasons for piracy is the lack of easy access to the latest films. India certified nearly 2000 films in 2017-18, barely 600-700 films made their way to cinema halls and those that did had restricted access due to lack of shows and unrestricted ticket prices in states like Maharashtra.
Save the Single Screens
We need to immediately arrest the closure of Single Screen theatres and make norms for converting urban single screens to multi-screen hubs. We need tax holidays and rebates together with reduced custom duties and the like to enhancing footfalls with affordable ticket pricing.
Indo-Bangla Film Awards
"Indian movies are extremely popular in all our neighbouring countries. But in most of these countries there is no proper bi-lateral agreement in place for import, distribution, and exhibition of Indian films, hence pirated copies find their way to these markets. We have to begin a process to change this," Hasan said.
"As a part of this effort to address this, an Indo-Bangla awards ceremony is being planned in October this year where actors, directors, and producers from both the countries will be honoured for their contribution and a favourable atmosphere created for Indian movies".
Animal Welfare Board
While FFI understands the importance of the Board, its operation out of Haryana makes the process of seeking compliance entangled and lengthy considering that nearly 2000 films go for certification every year. Hence, FFI proposes that at least two members of the film fraternity be incorporated into the Board so that they can explain the process of using animals and also take into cognizance the care and difficulties.