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Bollywood Movies: Tax-free, but still costly?


Mumbai, Sept. 8 -- It seems to be the season for Bollywood films to go tax-free. After Rani Mukerji's Mardaani was exempted from entertainment tax in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh in its second week, now, the Priyanka Chopra starrer biopic on pugilist Mary Kom has released tax-free in Maharashtra, UP, Rajasthan and Assam.

However, while the idea is to pass on the benefit of cheaper ticket prices to the audience, there seems to be discrepancy in ticket prices in the city. According to trade analyst Amod Mehra, considering the tax structure in the state, being exempted should ideally mean a "45 per cent rebate in Maharashtra".

However, in Mumbai theatres, while some places have reduced their prices (to as low as ' 80-'90), the rates at several multiplexes continue to be high - in the range of ' 280-'300 on weekdays, and ' 350-'480 on weekends. Mehra alleges that "in certain cases, where the original price should be, say
' 100, they have made it ' 200, and are now selling it for ' 100, saying it's the tax-free price".

When we contacted the co-producers of the film, its COO, Ajit Andhare, says, "Pricing is decided by multiplexes, not studios... If, however, due to demand, they price the ticket higher, you won't see the full drop."

President of PVR Pictures, Kamal Gianchandani, also claims that "prices are less by 30 per cent... The advantage of tax holiday has been passed to the consumers."