Sunday, Jun 26, 2022

Expectations Of Bollywood From The Union Budget

Filmmakers talk about what the insiders in Bollywood are looking for from this upcoming Union Budget. Will their expectations be met?

Expectations Of Bollywood From The Union Budget
Camera Operator

It’s that time of the year when everyone is looking out for the Union Budget to be read out by the Finance Minister of the country. What will be the new changes? What will be the new additions? Everyone is checking out the news every minute for every new revelation before the final budget is read by the Finance Minister. As per custom, the entertainment industry is also keeping a keen eye on what’s going to come in their quota in this year’s Union Budget.


The pandemic had begun to impact the entertainment industry in a big way last year when the Union Budget 2021 came up with some customs duty rate changes. In these, temporary import of costumes and props by filmmakers had been exempted. Experts are hoping that this year, more substantial relief will be provided to the entertainment industry which has battled huge economic losses over the last two years.


Outlook caught up with a few filmmakers and trade experts to see what they’re expecting out of the Union Budget this year:

Veteran producer Anand Pandit says, “The film industry could do with some post-pandemic cheer and relief. I hope that especially for theatre owners, there is some help. The industry has seen theatre closures in thousands and with fewer footfalls, survival has been challenging. Speedy loans and tax relief would help them enormously. Tax rebates for initiating new screens would be most welcome. Exhibitors are the backbone of the industry and their survival is important for our financial well-being. Reduced entertainment tax along with single-window clearances for shoots in the country and the ease of doing business will go a long way in boosting our morale. We wield immense soft power but our financial power does not match it when it comes to getting the support that many other industries enjoy. I hope, this time the Budget will give us many reasons to rejoice.”


Akshay Bardapurkar, Founder, Planet Marathi, says, “Pandemic had affected one and all. Being a regional content creator, we look forward to Government for basic exemptions of GST for a certain period of time or getting the input GST credit to be refunded as a huge part of the budget is already blocked in the last two years due to the non-release of films. Also, the TDS slabs for the entertainment sector regarding services and professionals should be reduced.  Support for regional brands and MSME of the entertainment industry which started in last two years should be provided. The entertainment industry has always been addressed last regarding budget and policies. It is high time we realise the potential of this sector that generates huge revenue and the percentage of employment it creates in a region.”


Director Vinod Sam Peter says, “Entertainment is a fast-growing industry, though an industry status is not given. The revenue generated is obviously huge. The tax slab is the highest for the entertainment or movie business. People go to work, come back home, might be stressed, once a week they get time to relax. So movies are the best recreational activities. I consider watching a movie is not a luxury but a need to de-stress. As a filmmaker, any movie made is never made with discrimination for rich or poor. It is for everyone to enjoy. Films are placed at a luxury slab. I think the Government should consider lowering the slab.”


Herumb Khot, Producer of the popular TV show ‘Dhadhakan Zindagii Kii’ says, “The entertainment industry has always been neglected by the government. We are always the most heavily taxed and the least supported industry despite being the sector that provides direct and indirect employment to many. The last 2 years have been bad for our industry, leading to tremendous losses. We need support from government policies to get the industry up and thriving. My personal request would be a relaxation in the percentage of GST taxes till the losses are recovered and our industry stabilises. I would also love it if the spending on building infrastructure for the entertainment would be increased significantly.”


"The Union Budget should consider slashing taxes on cinema halls all across the country at least for 6 months to boost box-office revenues for an industry that has suffered the last two years," says filmmaker Faruk Kabir.


Let’s wait and watch tomorrow what the Finance Minister has in store for the entertainment industry.