It was no less than a suspense thriller just like in the movies, when Income Tax officials came knocking on the doors of several top star heroes and leading producers of Sandalwood. This first of its kind raid, targeting Kannada film personalities with such a magnitude, has left the industry high and dry.
Could it be the probable free flow of black money in the film industry or is it due to the recent big budget movies, reportedly churning financial gains running in 100s of crores or even the alleged act to scuttle the sudden growth of Sandalwood as a few claim, are the questions which remain unanswered.
While what actually could have prompted such huge raids in the Kannada film industry? The most plausible explanation points towards the recent popularity along with box office successes of movies such as The Villain, KGF and Natasaarvabhowma which were made on a fairly high budget.
Three star actors from the two movies — Shivarajkumar, Kichcha Sudeepa, Yash and the producers of the movie — Vijay Kiragandur and CR Manohar were the prime targets of the raids, adding to the speculation. Also, the IT raids focussed around on another highly anticipated movie Natasaarvabhowma starring Puneeth Rajkumar produced by the prominent film producer Rockline Venkatesh, who has produced films of Super Star Rajinikanth and Bollywood star actor Salman Khan. Yash’s previous successful movies’ producer Jayanna was also raided.
However, sources in the IT department reveal that a raid especially of such a nature is never planned instantly or based on the recent business of a few movies. “The process is lengthy. Only after certain prima facie materials or information, raids such as these would have taken taken at least six months of preparation before striking. It involves a legal procedure as the effort is always to withstand their cases before the court of law,” sources say.
While the film industry is notoriously known for facilitating the conversion of black money into white, the recent rigid laws post the implementation of GST, plugged a lot of such loopholes, says film critic Sharan.
“The numbers are always hyped when it comes to the movie business. Not even a day after the release of a movie, filmmakers claim it as a big hit with terms such as ‘super hits’, ‘blockbusters’ and these days as ‘monster hits’ with figures such as Rs 50 crore or Rs 100 crore made in a week or two. The reality is far from such claims when one looks into official reports. They wouldn’t have made even Rs5 crore. In fact, they will be (in all probability) running into huge losses,” says Praveen, a short film maker.
However, the recent successes cannot be ruled out as Kichcha Sudeepa himself referred to the three movies as a probable cause for the raids.
Another theory making the rounds in the industry is of the raids being an act to scuttle the sudden growth of Sandalwood, which is an allegation without any foundation.
What ‘IT’ has certainly done with the raids is put brakes on black money, if any in circulation for now. But for how long, is again a billion dollar question!...