Superstar of south Indian cinema Kamal Hassan, along with other members of south Indian film chamber, opposed a Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 28% on regional cinema at a news conference in Chennai this Friday.
The 62-year-old actor argued that regional cinema is the pride of the country and such a high tax will lead to its annihilation.
Urging the government to reduce the tax rate by at least half, Kamal Hassan said that he will be “forced to quit cinema” if that is not done.
GST is a single tax that is being introduced in the country next month with an aim of replacing the multiple taxes implemented by the Central and state governments. The GST council is yet to hold another meeting to decide the rates of the tax.
For the film industry, the new tax rate is 28%. This rate is a drop from the present rate for Hindi film industry, whereas this will be a steep hike from the current rates for regional cinema.
Kamal Hassan has severely criticized this hike, calling the government of India’s behavior similar to that of East India Company. The News Minute quotes Kamal Hassan saying,
I was promised an easy life when the Republic (of India) was formed. Why should I work for the Government. I work for my own sustainability and it is not getting easier. I will have to quit the industry if I am on the highest tax slab. When it comes to the pride of India, it was always regional cinema that stood up for awards in international arenas. Regional cinema contributes to the might of the country. You can’t reduce that through taxation.
Abirami Ramanathan, the president of Chennai theater owners association, who was also present at the conference, said that cinema is being clubbed with “sinful industries” of alcohol and gambling.