References to the GST in the just-released Tamil film "Mersal" starring popular actor Vijay have not gone down well with the BJP which today objected to what it termed as "untruths" about the central taxation in the flick and demanded their deletion.
Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan demanded removal of the "untruths" about the Goods and Services Tax, rolled out by the BJP-led NDA government on July 1, while his party colleague H Raja claimed the film exposed Vijays "anti-Modi hatred".
The CPI (M) and superstar Rajinikanth starrer "Kabali" director Pa. Ranjith came to the defence of the "Mersal" crew, questioning BJPs logic of demanding the cuts. "The film producer should remove the untruths regarding GST from the film," Radhakrishnan told reporters in Nagercoil.
He said wrong information should not be spread through cinema and actors should not confuse people using the medium and try to derive political mileage. His remarks came a day after the BJPs state unit made a similar demand, charging the filmmakers with making "incorrect references" about the central taxation.
Hitting out at the references, state BJP president Tamilisai Sounderrajan had yesterday said "Incorrect references have been made in Mersal about GST. Celebrities should desist from registering wrong information among people."
Raja, the partys national secretary, in a series of tweets said the reference to GST only exposed Vijays "lack of knowledge of economics". Contrary to claims made in the film, medical care was not free in Singapore, he said.
"Its a lie that medical treatment is free in Singapore. In India school education and medial treatment are free for the poor. Mersal is only Vijays anti-Modi hatred," he charged in another tweet. "GST is not a new law," he added.
Sounderrajan had also said fans of the popular actor should not support such incorrect references and favoured removal of the dialogue referring to the GST. "What do they (the filmmakers) know about GST and its economics... such incorrect references should be removed from the film," she had said.
Meanwhile, the CPI (M) state unit described the BJPs criticism as an "attack on freedom of expression".
"CPI(M) condemns this attitude of the BJP. Social organisations and people should speak in one voice against BJP," party state secretary G Ramakrishnan said in a statement in Chennai.
Ranjith said there was no need for removing the scenes on GST as demanded by the BJP.
"There is no need. Peoples opinion on the issue seem to have been reflected in the film as the scene is receiving grand applause from the audience in theatres," he claimed. Politicians should view this (apparent impact of GST) as a "peoples issue", he added. "Mersal", directed by Atlee released on October 18, coinciding with Diwali.