Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu: The BJP in Tamil Nadu has demanded cuts in the week's big Diwali release 'Mersal,' alleging that some dialogues portray "untruths" about new national tax GST or Goods and Services Tax and the centre's Digital India campaign. Team Mersal has said the film has been approved by the Censor Board of Film Certification and the "matter ends there".
But clearly not. Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Sounderrajan's demand for cuts yesterday was taken up today by union minister Pon Radhakrishnan, who said, "The film producer should remove the untruths regarding GST from the film."
"We have obtained certification board's and that's the end of it," said a person close to the actor. Popular actor Vijay, who plays a magician, a doctor and a village rebel in the film, is yet to comment.
Mersal was released on Diwali to record earnings and has been running to packed theatres. Produced by Thenandal Studios Limited, the Tamil movie that has been dubbed into Telugu also and has music composed by AR Rahman.
In one scene actor Vijay's character in the film laments at the government's inability to provide free healthcare for all in India despite "high" GST rates in India, saying Singapore is able to fund a free health scheme despite a much lower GST rate.
"He can't misrepresent facts.... It's giving twisted facts about GST and Singapore. We can't allow lies being told," said BJP spokesperson Narayanan.
"Intentionally they want to criticise the central government... They cannot appreciate efforts of PM Modi ji," said Tamilisai Sounderrajan, who is leading the BJP's campaign against "Incorrect references" in 'Mersal' about GST, saying "celebrities should desist from spreading wrong information among people."
The opposition DMK has charged the BJP with trying to pressure the producers though they have a certificate from the censor board. "The BJP is acting as a super film certification board and curbing democratic rights," DMK spokesperson A Saravanan said.
Opposition parties have accused the Centre of poor implementation of GST, the biggest overhaul of India's indirect taxation system, earlier this year, alleging it has crippled small businesses still trying to emerge from the shock of last year's demonetisation decision.
The BJP is not the only one complaining about Mersal. An association of doctors have alleged that there are uncharitable references to the medical profession in the film and they want these deleted.