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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 15:20 GMT
Bollywood cinemas on tax strike
Bollywood actress Namrata Shirodkar
Cinemas are on strike in the home of the Bollywood film industry
Nearly 1,000 cinemas in the western Indian state Maharashtra, including the entertainment capital Bombay, have gone on strike.

Owners want a reduction in tax levied on tickets and permission to convert failing cinemas into other businesses.

Their second strike in six months, owners accused the state government of going back on an earlier promise to fulfil their demands.

Bombay, also known as Mumbai, is home to the Bollywood film industry.

Cinema owners association president RV Vidhani said the government agreed to form a committee to look into their demands after the previous strike, but has not done so.


At present, the government does not allow owners to close down failing film theatres and start alternative businesses on the premises, reports BBC correspondent in Bombay Zubair Ahmed.

The state levies 55% entertainment tax on each ticket sold in Maharashtra, one of the highest in India.

Mr Vidhani said the state government had also accepted their demand of bringing the tax down to 45% after last year's strike.

More than 100 loss-making cinema halls in the state are now lying closed.

The state government passed a bill three months ago that accommodated some of the cinema owners' demands, but it has not passed into law yet.

Multiplex cinemas remain unaffected by the strike because they do not pay entertainment tax.

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