After the resounding success of Amma canteens and mineral water now Amma Theaters in Chennai!
The Chennai Corporation will set up cinema theatres with subsidized tickets on vacant plots of land it owns across the city.
The subsidy was among those announced during the budget session of the Chennai municipal corporation on Wednesday, and involves creating Amma Cinema Theatres on vacant land owned by the corporation "to entertain the poor and middle class," according to Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy.
Details on the number of such movie halls and ticket prices have not been announced. The buzz is that tickets will be priced below Rs 25 each, and the theatres are expected to function by June.
The Mayor added, "In Chennai, the cinema ticket rates are high and are operated in most of the commercial complexes. Because of this, the poor and the middle-class people are not able to afford entertainment."
Interestingly, Tamil Nadu has the lowest ticket prices in the country because the state government has capped ticket prices at Rs.50 for air-conditioned single screens and Rs.120 for multiplexes. Compared to other metro`s in the country like Mumbai and Bangalore ticket rates are the lowest in the country.
The mayor said the corporation came up with the idea because cinema theatres reduce depression among the poor and the downtrodden. A state that worships actors, and elects its actors as chief ministers, Tamil Nadu is second only to Andhra Pradesh when it comes to its people`s movie-going habit. Tamil Nadu has roughly 950 screens, very low for a state which has film crazy audiences and annually produces around 160 films.
Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu theatre owners federation said: "Amma Theaters is a welcome sign. The movie-going habit has dropped by about 40% in the last decade with the rise of films being regularly shown on television. For cinema hall owners, this initiative comes as good news as they believe it will increase the movie-going habit of people and, in turn, kill piracy."
The tickets at Amma Theatres are likely to be priced in the Rs 15 to Rs 25 price range per ticket. Ramanathan says this will not affect the business of the other cinema halls as it will cater to a different audience.