What 'Mersal' controversy is all about?

What 'Mersal' controversy is all about?

By: || Updated: 21 Oct 2017 04:01 PM

Vijay's Diwali release "Mersal" came under attack from BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, one of whom also sought to give a communal twist by raking up the actor's religion. Photo: Twitter

NEW DELHI: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the BJP's demand for removal of dialogues critical of the GST in Tamil movie "Mersal", asking him not to "demon-etise Tamil pride" by such interference.

"Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don't try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal," Gandhi said in a tweet.

Gandhi's attack came after Tamil actor Vijay's Diwali release "Mersal" came under attack from BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu, one of whom also sought to give a communal twist by raking up the actor's religion.

The actor has been panned for his dialogues in the film that takes a dig at GST and Digital India. Vijay, who had met Narendra Modi during electioneering ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, had even lauded demonetisation last year.

BJP's National Secretary H. Raja in a tweet on Friday raked up the actor's Christian origins.

Referring to the actor's dialogue in the movie, Raja tweeted that in the last 20 years, 17,500 churches, 9,700 mosques and 370 temples were built. Out of these what should be avoided to build hospitals, Raja posted.

Raja even said "Mersal" shows Vijay's ignorance in economic matters as the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not a new tax and the tax on liquor is over 58 per cent.

Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan demanded removal of the dialogues relating to GST, digital payments and temples from the movie as they spread a wrong message.

Earlier on Saturday, senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram also attacked the BJP over its demand for removal of dialogues critical of GST in "Mersal".

"Notice to film makers: Law is coming, you can only make documentaries praising government's policies," Chidambaram tweeted.

References to the GST in the just-released Tamil film "Mersal" starring popular actor Vijay have not gone down well with the BJP which 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 Vijay's "anti-Modi hatred".

The CPI (M) and superstar Rajinikanth starrer "Kabali" director Pa. Ranjith came to the defence of the "Mersal" crew, questioning BJP's 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.

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