Leading members from the Telugu film fraternity including filmmakers SS Rajamouli, Koratala Sivaactors and actors Chiranjeevi, Mahesh Babu and Prabhas, among others met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday (February 10). The celebrities travelled to Vijayawada in a chartered plane to discuss the theatre ticket pricing issue with Reddy.
Feb 10 marks the 17th anniversary of Mahesh Babu and wife Namrata Shirodkar. However, the actor skipped on the family celebrations to fly to Vijaywada and meet the minister. Prabhas, Chiranjeevi and others wished Mahesh Babu on their way to Vijayawada. Megastar Chiranjeevi tweeted a sweet message to the couple.
Wishing @urstrulyMahesh &#NamrataShirodkar one of the most loveable and loved couples a very happy 17th Wedding Anniversary!! Wishing you both a lifetime of love, laughter and togetherness! pic.twitter.com/jp8RhrsHxn— Chiranjeevi Konidela (@KChiruTweets) February 10, 2022
Rajamouli tweeted about the meeting with Reddy on his Twitter.
Mahesh Babu and Chiranjeevi also took to social media to reveal the deeds of the meeting and thanked Reddy for his co-operation and understanding.
Thank you hon'ble CM Sri @ysjagan garu for considering the requests of our Telugu Film Industry and assuring us the best to make Telugu cinema flourish.— Mahesh Babu (@urstrulyMahesh) February 10, 2022
Thrifts between the government and theatre owners began when the Andhra Pradesh government, in April 2021, passed an order to regulate the prices of theatres in the state. The order also set fixed rates for multiplexes, as well as AC and non-AC theatres, in the economy, deluxe, and premium categories across municipal corporation cities, municipalities, gram panchayats, and so on.
The Government Order (GO) mentioned the minimum and maximum prices of multiplex tickets in municipal corporations as Rs.75 and Rs.250 respectively. It further stated that the ticket prices in AC and non-AC cinemas are to range from Rs.20-Rs.100, and that the economy class tickets in gram panchayats cannot cost beyond Rs.5.
The GO also stated that when providing refreshments to clients in theatres, the price of the refreshment cannot exceed the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the product. It also mandated the provision of free clean drinking water and restrooms to all the people. It went on to mention about introducing an online ticketing system and all theatres in the state should facilitate online ticketing.
Owners of the 950 theatres in the states expressed their discomfort over the government’s such decision and stated that it was unjust for the government to intervene in ticket pricing.
Following the drift, as many as 225 theatre owners had filed a PIL in the Andhra Pradesh High Court requesting for a Review Bench to review the GO. The court quashed the government order (GO) on 14 December, but after an appeal, the court clarified that the GO still applied to all theatres except the petitioners.
Following the court’s decision, the government conducted raids and shut down 83 theatres in the state blaming them for allegedly violating the fire safety norms. This action escalated the fraught between the government and the theatre owners. The theatres were later allowed to reopen.
In contrast to Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana government, in December 2021, allowed theatre owners to raise prices by up to Rs 300, as well as levy GST and maintenance fees, in response to a request from film producers.