Protesting against the hostile and harassing attitude of Vizakhapatnam joint collector Sandeep Kumar Sultania, the Visakhapatnam cine exhibitors closed down around 120 theatres in the district on Sunday indefinitely. Boards stating "Cinema hall will remain closed indefinitely in protest against the actions of joint collector" are set up at theatres. Vizag Cine Exhibitors Association secretary TP Anantham said that the Joint Collector was treating them like incorrigible creatures. "There were many instances where we were humiliated. We never faced such harassment though we were doing this business since 50 years", he said. The local bodies like municipalities and corporation will suffer a loss of Rs 2 lakhs per day due to closure of the more than 120 theatres in the district and the film distributors will incur a loss of around Rs 20 lakhs per day. The exhibitors are ready to face losses due the time of closure of all their cinemas.
It may be mentioned here that the administration had on Saturday ordered that screening in five theatres in the city must be stopped for alleged violation of stipulated norms. The orders were issued for violating the conditions of B-form licences and for not providing basic facilities to the cine-goers. Adding that the local association is the affiliated body of the AP Film Chamber and was having full support from the chamber in this issue, the members said they would launch a State-wide protest if needed. The theatres in the city remained closed on Monday also. The stalemate continued and the cine exhibitors turned down the invitation sent by the revenue authorities to attend a meeting at the Collectorate on Monday afternoon.
They wanted the minister for commercial taxes Konatala Ramakrishna, who was also the district in-charge minister to take interest in resolving the issue. "There will not be any use if we go and meet the Joint Collector. We want to resolve the issues in the presence of our district minister," said a theatre owner. The issue remained unresolved till last reports came on Tuesday night. On the other hand there were reports that fan clubs of a Chiranjeevi are planning to launch an agitation against the district administration as Stalin is slated for release on Wednesday.