With an unseemly row over the pricing of cinema tickets taking the centre-state, the administration has taken a back seat in Andhra Pradesh.

There is also a view that minds of most people are being willfully diverted by the state government to ensure that no one talks about Polavaram and the Special Category Status (SCS) that is yet to be granted by the Government of India despite assurances during the bifurcation of the combined state of AP.

The state government seems to be targeting popular stars with wide market for their films on the ground that their remuneration possibly accounts for 80% of the total expenditure on a film project.

Ministers in the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government Perni Venkatramaiah and Anil Kumar Yadav pointedly questioned their party’s political opponent and popular hero and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan on the remuneration he had taken for his latest films and claimed that 80% of the costs of the films concerned constituted the hero’s remuneration. This came in handy for YSR Congress leaders and cadre to ‘fix’ Pawan Kalyan.

It is well known that the Kapu community is angling to assume greater political clout in AP and is on the lookout for a capable leader with mass appeal. The Kapu community pinned its hopes on mega star Chiranjeevi in 2009.

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Those hopes were dashed due to the dismal performance of the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) led by Chiranjeevi. Now, after a gap of one and half decades, his younger brother Pawan Kalyan seems to have positioned himself as the community’s most promising candidate for leadership. This surely prompted the YSRC government to focus its attention on its political opponents in the film industry.

No wonder, it has taken the colour of the common man being forced to buy cinema tickets at excess rates – up to three or four times the original rates at cinema theatres. So, the state government, which had previously granted permission for several filmmakers to increase ticket earnings, including by screening of benefit shows, is now pressing for slashing the rates of cinema tickets ostensibly “in the interests of common man”.

Moreover, there is the unseen pressure of the Telangana government’s stance on cinema tickets.  Telangana has accorded permission to filmmakers to increase ticket rates for new films. High rates of cinema tickets will burn a hole in the pockets of the common man.

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Filmmakers are now harbouring hopes that the AP government would follow what the Telangana government has done in the case of ticket rates.
In any case, the influence of caste over the film field is expected to be very high those. Noticeably, many Kammas have grip over the film industry. The Reddy community has been trying hard to regain the ground it had yielded previously to Kammas. In fact, the hold of the Kamma community over the film world has been so tight that even the Telangana government could not ‘bifurcate’ the Telugu film industry.

Prominent film personalities remained as supporters of the earlier government headed by Telugu Desam Party.  So, when the change of guard took place, the attitude of the state government towards the film industry has also been different. When Dr.YS Rajasekhara Reddy became chief minister of the combined state of Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu film industry had felicitated him on a grand scale at Telugu Lalitha Kalatoranam of Public Gardens in Hyderabad. Film personalities had a well-knit plan to impress YSR to get sops for industry. But YSR did not make any commitment, despite requests made by film industry.

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After a gap of few months, a team comprising prominent film personalities met YSR at the Secretariat to make a formal request for allotment of site for housing purpose for the benefit of cine workers.

Then YSR gently responded by asking a question in a lighter vein: “Where is the need to come to the government as you (film personalities) are having Murali Mohan at your side?” The allusion was to actor Murali Mohan’s role as realtor and developer thorough his firm Jayabheri.

Noticeably, the same film industry did not pay even a courtesy call on Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy. It may be recalled that another former Reddy chief minister of AP Bhavanam Venkatram(i Reddy) was felicitated by the film industry on 19April, 1982. Dr.Marri Channa Reddy did a lot for the film industry and help it spread base in Hyderabad.

Film figures will also have to explain their argument on how the increase in prices of cinema tickets would benefit the common man! This is one off-screen show that is much-talked about with neither the state government nor the film industry sounding right to the common people. #KhabarLive #hydnews