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Ticket price hike for Vakeel Saab flick kicks off controversy


The makers of Vakeel Saab may have portrayed the flick’s protagonist played by Pawan Kalyan as dead against exploitation of the poor, but the legions of the actor’s frenzied fans and like-minded moviegoers will have to shell out huge sums for getting tickets of the film, which will hit the screens in Telugu states on Friday. But the behind the scene distributors of the film have kicked off a controversy by seeking to raise the ticket prices for premier shows as well as first, second and third-class tickets for two weeks.

This will burn a hole in the pockets of people belonging to the middle class. Though the organizers managed to get the TRS government’s permission in Telangana to hike the ticket fares but in Andhra Pradesh, they obtained a court order because the state government refuses to give permission to hike the ticket prices for the flick.

The minister for Transport and I&PR of Government of Andhra Pradesh Perni Nani said that the government appeal to High Court against the lower court’s order. Jana Sena president Pawan Kalyan claims to have derived inspiration from revolutionary leader Che Guevara, who had raised a banner of revolt against the exploitation of people.

But the ticket prices for his new flick have been priced at Rs 500 each for the premier shows which will make a high pinch in the pockets of middle-class people and the poor, who lament that the theatres have become centres for exploitation of the poor.

YSRCP leaders have been accusing Pawan, who tries to expose exploitation by the Government, of hiking the ticket prices at least by three times to the detriment of the poor. As usual, it is a practice and approval for the hike of ticket prices of regular shows and premier shows of top heroes films given by the state government. The tradition was first started with the Jai Chiranjeeva film of the megastar Chiranjeevi.

Later, it was continued by Gautamiputra Satakarni, a Balakrishna-starrer, and the Prabhaas-starrer Baahubali and Chiranjeevi’s magnum opus Syera Narasimha Reddy. The KCR government gave green light to hiking ticket prices of ‘Vakeel Saab’ and increased the occupancy ratio of theatres screening the film to 50 percent of the available seats, perhaps reciprocating Pawan’s gesture in the last MLC polls.

It may be recalled that Pawan called upon his cadre to vote for TRS nominee Vaani Devi on the last day of the MLC poll campaign. However, in Andhra Pradesh Pawan Kalyan is not able to hike the prices of tickets. Vakeel Saab producers sought permission from Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy to increase the ticket fare, but the government said no. The producers then moved a court and obtained orders to increase the ticket fare.

Sai Krishna theatre management in Sattenapalli addressed a letter to the Joint Collector of Guntur in this regard. It sought permission to collect Rs 500 per ticket for a benefit show, to increase the first-class ticket to Rs 300 (Rs 100 normally), the second class ticket to Rs 200 (Rs 70 normally) and the third-class ticket to Rs 150 (Rs 50 normally) for two weeks. Joint Collectors of Krishna, Guntur and Kadapa districts went on record, in the latest development, stating that the government did not authorise any theatre to hike the cinema ticket fares.

They warned of stern action if anyone brings to their notice any theatre collecting hiked ticket fare. They said that no permission whatsoever had been given for screening any premier shows. The Jaganmohan Reddy government took it as a matter of prestige and appointed RDOs, MROs and Commercial tax authorities to ensure that the Joint Collector’s orders were enforced in letter and spirit.

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