Himalayan News Service

Pokhara, February 16

"For the last three years, the number of movie-goers has decreased almost by 60 per cent," said Jeet Prasad Dwa, manager of the Vindhaybasinee Chalachitra Mandir.

He said local labourers and villagers from neighbouring villages are the main audience. Fall in the number of movie-goers has after the government imposed emergency some one-and-a-half year ago. Night shows were cancelled since then. There is a 50 per cent fall in the number of movie-goers even in the afternoon show at 3 pm," added Dwa.

Nowadays, the halls — which used to be run full in all the shows three years ago — have to bear a loss of around Rs 3,000 per day, he said. "City people who have access to various TV channels rarely go to the movie hall," said Tok Bahadur Adhikari of Kalpana Hall.

Dwa said that they could not close the halls that they have established by investing millions. "We can survive only if there is a long term peace in the country," he added.

Sangeeta Lamichhane of Shree Krishna Hall said, "We are even unable to pay tax to the government." Sometimes the hall owners cannot collect enough money to pay the film distributors. "At times we have to take loans to pay them," said Chandra Man Gurung of Kalpana Hall.

There are currently seven picture halls in Pokhara.