No lights, camera, action on Feb 23.

The Indian Film industry will be shut down on February 23 to protest against Central Government’s proposal to levy service tax which would increase the cost of film making. What’s still unknown is that if the strike will be for a day or continue longer.

An industry insider informs, “While the cinema industry would definitely suffer due to the strike, most members of the fraternity have decided to support it. The imposition of service tax will cripple the filmmaking process. The Central Government has proposed a service tax of nearly 10.3 per cent. This is not a small percentage. The budget of many films would be hit rather badly.”

According to filmmaker Ratan Jain, a strike is possibly not the right way to oppose Central Government’s proposal. He said, “I have received a letter in this regard. A strike is not the right answer to our woes in this regard. The strike would only make us lose money. A proper representation by the film industry which can address the Finance Ministry would be the right way to solve this.”

And once again, Madhur Bhandarkar would be affected with this strike, as the shoot of his ambitious film Heroine, starring Kareena Kapoor would have to be stalled on February 23. Also, if the service tax proposal is passed, Bhandarkar’s budget might increase. “The budget of Heroine was finalised about seven months back. I certainly don’t approve of this,” said a rather displeased Bhandarkar.

Mahesh Bhatt, too expressing his displeasure and supporting the strike, said, “The government has been apathetic to the film industry. Add to this the service tax, which is certainly not welcome. We need to shut shop so that the government sits up and takes notice of this.”

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