On November 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will invalidate existing currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 starting November 9 to eliminate black money and fight corruption in the country. HT spoke with industry experts and artistes about the ripple effects of the decision, if any, on the film industry.
“Luckily, there’s no black money in the film industry, so it is not affected. This is the only industry in India that is not affected,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra. He adds that at one point 50% to 70% of transactions in the industry were carried out with black money. “Today, thanks to transparency, 99.9% of the transactions are in white,” adds Amod, who feels the step is a bold move. Trade expert Amul Vikas Mohan seconds the thought. “The industry people are known to pay high taxes, and deal with white money. All technicians and crew members like to accept money that can be taxed,” says Amul, adding, “However, there are a lot of individual producers who are looking to finance their films. It might be a bit of an uphill task for them. But those cases will be rare, as everybody is smarter now.”
When exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi was asked if there are going to be any effects on the film industry, he said, “There might be a few short-term hindrances with the new policy. There are families that go to cinema halls and pay by cash. More than black or white money, this is also about the convenience of transactions. So, for people who aren’t familiar with online transactions, it will be inconvenient, since a lot of them are used to paying money by cash.” Akshaye says, “I think it’s a fantastic decision not just for the entertainment industry, but the economy as a whole.” Amul adds that it is a brave decision. “We have to see how it pans out over the years,” he says.
Here’s what the industry people have to say:
It’s a brilliant step and a brave move. I, as an Indian, only hope that the country and its citizens benefit and flourish due to the same.
I think it’s a fantastic step. It will be a pain for people who have film shoots going on currently, and who have a daily expenditure to take care of, as the changing of legit notes will be a slow process. But that’s fine if we look at the bigger picture of eradicating black money and growing an even healthier economy. Also, we should report any corruption that is a hurdle to this process.
This is the most drastic step I’ve seen the Indian government take in my lifetime. I hope it makes a better India for our future generations. Now, I just hope they do something about the taxes and not overburden the citizens, because we pay way too much of tax to compensate for people who have black money.
Ram Gopal Varma
It will affect those who need to be affected and will not affect those who don’t have a reason to be affected.
I don’t know how we will manage things in the interim, considering it will affect the day-to-day transactions temporarily. However, it is a great step taken by the Prime Minister. It will only benefit the nation in the long run.
It is a brilliant move. Modiji promised to clear the country of corruption at the beginning of his term as PM and he is doing it.
Aanand L Rai
It is a brilliant step by the government. It shows their intentions towards better and clean working conditions.
It will affect the nationwide box office badly for the next few weeks, especially single-screen theatres. And that is certainly sad. I am not an economist, so I can’t really talk about the effects in the long run, but I certainly hope it’s for the best.
Divya Khosla Kumar
Citizens may face issues for a few days, but this is the start of ‘bahut acche din’. It will hurt for a few days, but we will come out healed and stronger. I salute the PM for the brilliant move that he has made to stop corruption and fight black money.