The ban on higher banknotes has badly affected the south Indian film industry which is still largely dependent on the cash-based business to carry out day-to-day transactions. A few filmmakers have also postponed the release of their films as they were afraid that the ban on Rs 1000 and Rs 500 currency notes would keep the moviegoers from spending money on buying tickets.
India banned the high-value currency notes in order to check the menace of black money, corruption, counterfeiter and terror funding. The ban came into effect almost immediately, leaving people in the lurch. Public have to wait in long queues in front of banks across the country to exchange their now invalid currency notes for new currency notes.
“There is no point in releasing a film when people have no currency notes, so I felt I should delay the release. If I was the viewer, my priority would not be to spend my money on a film at a time like this,” director Nadhirshah was quoted as saying by The Hindu. The release of his upcoming movie Kattappanayile Hrithik Roshan, which was set to open in theatres this Friday, has been postponed to next week.
Meanwhile, Mohanlal’s blockbuster film Pulimurugan, which had been running to packed houses since its release on October 7, has also been affected by the scrapping of higher denomination notes.
According to reports, the occupancy for the Mohanlal-starrer has dropped significantly at the multiplex screens in Kerala. The film, which recently became the first Malayalam film to collected Rs 100 crore at the worldwide box office, is still running in 120 plus screens in the state.
Another recently released Malayalam film Aanandam is also facing the heat at the box office due to the move.
On the other hand, the Modi government’s unexpected move received a widespread appreciation from the film celebrities. “A refreshing change for our economy & country! Master stroke from the man of the ppl by the ppl for the ppl! Salute you @narendramodi sir!,” Mahesh Babu had tweeted. Ironically, the shortage of high-value currency notes has stopped the shooting of his upcoming film.
Many Telugu producers of big-ticket films, including Mahesh Babu’s untitled film directed by AR Murugadoss, had to stop shooting as they did not have enough cash to pay daily wages of the technicians.