The Indian film bigwigs had huge expectations from the Union Budget. But after it was announced recently, the stars are downright upset and feel neglected.
In the opinion of the biggest names of the film industry, the government completely ignored the film fraternity. There neither was a tax benefit nor a special fund allocation which has disappointed the film industry. Renowned personalities spoke openly about their disappointments.
"Every sector has been covered except the film industry...as if we don’t exist. We are the cultural ambassadors of the country. We are not asking for freebies, but at least acknowledge us. We are also there to enhance your revenues." said filmmaker Mukesh Bhatt, president of the Film and Television Producers Guild.
Another eminent personality to have a similar opinion was director Hansal Mehta who was quite stern and cold in his statement. "It is time for the film industry to stop prostrating before governments that care a damn about us. At least some of the revenue collected from the industry can be ploughed back (into the economy). They censor our films, take entertainment tax from us, charge service tax and do nothing for us," he added.
Filmmaker Kunal Kohli too quoted that they get no support from the government. "Overall it's a good budget for the country, but nothing for us. Our industry is heavily taxed. When we shoot in other countries, we get a lot of tax redemptions, but in our own country, we don’t get any benefits," he added.
Trade analyst Atul Mohan stated that our new government could've taken cues from China's policies which offer multiple benefits to boost its film industry. "Is the entertainment industry injurious to health? Why tax it like tobacco? We have entertainment tax, service tax, VAT (value added tax) and we have to battle piracy. If China can address such issues, why can’t we?" he questioned.
Meanwhile, a few from the industry are still hopeful. "Jo sarkar tax kum kare wohi achchi hoti hain? (The government that reduces taxes is better). It's not like that. A budget is announced keeping in mind overall development," says filmmaker Subhash Ghai.
"I'm sure issues of the entertainment industry are part of the government’s larger plans," says lyricist Prasoon Joshi.
With so many questions being asked, we hope government is listening to all of them. As of now it seems that the Indian film industry will have to wait for it's share of 'Achche Din'.