Actor/Producer Udhayanidhi Stalin has accused the Tamil Nadu Government of favouritism. Through a tweet, Udhay alleged that the latest rule for getting exemption from entertainment tax, was to sell the film’s theatrical rights to Jazz Cinemas.
Latest rule for getting TN govt entertainment Tax exemption! Give the chennai city theatrical rights to Jazz cinemas! ???
— Udhay (@Udhaystalin) August 21, 2016
Jazz Cinemas is reportedly owned by members of Sasikalaa’s family. Sasikala is a close confidante of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Actor Udhyanidhi has had some bitter experiences with the Tamil Nadu Tax Exemption Committee, with his movies being routinely denied exemption from entertainment tax. Udhay’s latest film Manidhan was denied tax exemption on the grounds that the word was not Tamil, but Sanskrit. His film with Amy Jackson – Gethu, also faced the same issue with the committee claiming that the word wasn’t a Tamil word at all. It was only after he contested the issue in court, that he won a ruling in his favour.
Gethu was the actor’s first and thus far, only tax-exempt film.
In the past, Udhayanidhi even alleged that it was all a part of a political vendetta. Udhayanidhi Stalin’s father MK Stalin is the Treasurer of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the arch rival of the ruling AIADMK party.
In 2009, the Tamil Nadu government introduced new norms by which only films which have a Tamil title and a ‘U’ certificate from the Censor Board will enjoy entertainment tax exemption. Failing any of these, the films are imposed a 15% tax.
In 2011, a vetting process was added. Through this, a Government-constituted panel will decide if a movie is eligible for tax exemption.
Since its inception, many filmmakers and producers have alleged that the exemption process is full of loopholes that allow people to circumvent it. Some also allege that the committee appointed to vet these films is partial. Big budget films like Anjaan and Kabali came under fire for receiving tax exemption, inspite of their violent content while a smaller film like Metro was given a A certificate.