Cinemas across India remained closed today (23 February 2012) as part of a token strike to protest the levy of sales tax on film transactions. However, the bandh was partial as multiplexes did not participate in the strike.
Even among the single screen cinemas, the bandh was not 100 per cent because the Central Circuit Cine Association (CCCA), which is the parent body of exhibitors and distributors in the C.P.C.I. and Rajasthan circuit, had issued a circular on 22 February calling off the proposed bandh. Therefore, cinemas in C.P. Berar, C.I. and Rajasthan functioned as usual.
Santosh Singh Jain, President, CCCA, told Koimoi.com, “We met the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday and he assured us that he would look into the concerns of the film industry after the elections and the budget. This one day token bandh was to give the government a wakeup call. When the finance minister has already woken up to the travails of the industry, it does not make sense to go ahead with the bandh.”
However, several other single screen cinemas in other parts of the nation went ahead with the strike, exposing the lack of unity within the industry.
In Bombay circuit, most single-screen theatres remained shut. However, all the multiplex chains were open.
All single-screen theatres in Bengal, Assam and Eastern circuits remained closed, except the multiplexes. Five hundred industry people, including cine technicians, artistes, exhibitors, producers and distributors sat on a dharna in Chowringhee central area of Kolkata.
In south India, Tamil Nadu saw closure of all cinemas.