Madurai cinemas under scanner

Theatres in and around Madurai screening Petta and Viswasam have come under the scanner for selling tickets over and above the counter price. On Saturday, a team of 23 advocate commissioners along with 22 officers deputed by the Madurai Corporation Commissioner inspected a handful of theatres to check whether they were overpricing tickets. The team will also be submitting its report on the same by January 22.

P. Mahendra Pandi filed a public interest litigation petition, requesting that the sale of tickets by all cinemas for Viswasam and Petta for 15 days in Madurai district be monitored, particularly during Pongal holidays. He told The Hindu, “During the release of Sarkar, we had filed a case pointing out that theatres are charging exorbitant rates. The court had directed the Madurai Collector to take stringent action against those flouting norms and cancel their C form licence. But the Collector has not taken any action based on court direction and theatres continued to overcharge,” he added.

According to estimates, Madurai has 55 screens across 39 theatres with over 33,400 seats.

Theatre owners said they had been selling at rates fixed by the government, but a few people who purchased at counters sold them in black.

An advocate commissioner said a few theatres had been selling tickets at ₹150-₹200, over and above the price fixed by the government. “Theatres including Ambiga, Amirtham, Cine Priya Screen have been selling tickets at higher rates,” he added.

Another source in the theatre industry in Madurai said, “Some new theatres on the outskirts of Madurai have not been getting footfalls. They are the ones who need to be monitored.”

Rm.M. Annamalai, president of Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association, said the inspection did not have any impact on the day-to-day operations of theatres.

Most theatre owners said the issue had been exaggerated because of problems between a few theatres in Madurai.

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