Chennai: With the crucial meeting of finance ministers from all the states to take place on Saturday to formalise the GST, ace actor, producer and filmmaker Kamal Haasan insisted that they should reconsider the 28 per cent levied on the entertainment industry.
“We are not saying that we won’t pay the GST, but not this rate which will ruin regional cinema. Put us in lowest rate is that all we demand”, the 62-year-old actor said at the press conference convened by the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce on Friday.
“We have been fighting this battle for four years. We have spoken to politicians from several states. We see this as a big punishment for our industry,” said Haasan.
The actor also said that regional films couldn’t be put on the same level of Hollywood or Bollywood industries and movie tickets can’t be fixed like an essential service. “Cinema is the most vulnerable art medium. You can’t compare that to gambling, which is one of the oldest past time.
All said and done, regional cinema is the pride of India, which always stood out in the international arena and most of the awards come to the south than Hindi films.”
He quickly adds, “That doesn’t mean I am against Hindi cinema. My national anthem is in Bengali, and we are happily singing it in any event. We only ask them to reconsider their proposed rates and make it 12 per cent.”
Reacting to a query if he was insulted by classifying cinema under the sinful category, Kamal said, “Cinema is my life. I woke up into cinema from the age of 3 1/2 yeas old. So, when they say it is sinful… I get really offended and annoyed.”
“If I can’t afford the tax burden, I will have to quit. Why would I work for the government? What’s happening?
Is this the East India Company?” the actor asked, raising his voice a bit. Requesting Narendra Modi government to review the tax slabs, he said the un-affordable, high tax rates would only increase piracy and lead to black money....