A couple of years ago, when Cheran’s Cinema2Home attempt was in the limelight, the state Government of Tamilnadu announced another feather to its cap of already populist and successful schemes like Amma canteen, Amma water bottles, Amma cement etc. This was supposed to be the ‘Amma Theatre‘.
Image Source – http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/mind-boggling-list-every-amma-product-and-service-launched-last-5-years-38816
The plan was to build a modern theatre with all the latest facilities and amenities, but the cost of a movie ticket wouldbe only around Rs.25. The remaining amount would logically be subsidised by the government. It addressed one of the raging issues of its time and one of the major reasons for piracy – ‘Huge entry price points for theatres’. Additionally, implementation of this program would also help immensely benefit ‘propaganda’ values for the government and also further cement the legacy of the now Late, Chief Minister, Miss. J.Jayalalitha.
Reports later surfaced that the NFDC was called in as consultants to help the Tamilnadu state Government, implement this project. (The NFDC has experience providing budgets for low cost movies, and that too, thanks to Central government support, but what expertise, NFDC has with regard to building and running a low cost subsidised theatre chain baffles me!!!).
Three years later, the project seems to have gone into limbo. The stakes and priorities change immensely now, given that Madam Jayalalitha is now no longer there ( and therefore, ‘propaganda’ values diminish !!!), or even the fact that there is already enough political confusion and instability in the government.
The public demand things, with higher priority now and even if a few theatre complexes were established and budgets incorporated subsidies, it makes little sense with the affordability and accessibility that the Internet has provided. More over, building a few ‘theatres’, with so much investment could hardly have a fraction of the ‘socialistic’ impacts that subsidised ‘Food’, ‘water’ or ‘medicines’ may have.
It is unlikely in the current circumstances that the ‘Amma Theatres’ concept will be revived. Maybe like the ‘Cinema2Home’ project, its purpose of serving ‘news feeds and flash news’ had come to an end, before the project(s) even began.