'Mersal'-GST row: Timing of Tax officials visit suspicious, says Vishal

Deccan Chronicle / PTI

Entertainment, Kollywood

Actor Vishal supports Vijay's controversial film Mersal by confronting H Raja’s offensive comments.

Mersal, the Diwali release, is currently doing very well at the box office.

Mumbai: Actor Vijay-starrer Diwali release ‘Mersal’ has kicked up a row with the BJP taking exception to references on GST in the movie, which has earned more than Rs 150 crore at the box office.

The controversies around ‘Mersal’ refused to die down with actor Vishal accusing BJP leader H Raja of advocating piracy by watching the movie online. Vishal, who is known for his strong anti-piracy stand and activities, demanded an apology from Raja on the matter.

The Tamil actor said on Tuesday that it's no coincidence that tax officials visited his office in Chennai after he confronted the BJP for its opposition to the movie.

"The timing of IT (Income Tax) department's visit to my office is suspect," Vishal told NDTV, adding, "The BJP's demand to chop Mersal dialogues is a curb on freedom of expression."

On Monday, officials spent nearly three hours at the actor's office investigating alleged tax evasion amounting to Rs.50 lakh by his film production company.

Vijay starrer Mersel, features him in a triple role, and was made on the budget of Rs.100 crore. H Raja has alleged that the actor's ‘hatred’ for Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been exposed with the film; he also linked his claim to the fact that Vishal is a Christian and posted the actor's voter ID card on social media to draw attention to his complete name, Joseph Vijay.

"H Raja should not bring religion into films," said Vishal today. In the gesture of support, he said, "Joseph is a nice name for Vijay."

For the uninitiated, A scene in the Tamil-language film Mersal shows a character delivering a fiery monologue in which he attacks the government’s failure to provide free public healthcare despite charging a national goods and services tax (GST) of up to 28 per cent. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP came under fire on Saturday for demanding cuts to an Indian film, claiming it showcased “Anti-Modi hatred”.