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On Friday, when Tamil superstar Kamal Haasan said that he would be forced to quit films if the new Goods and Services Tax rate is not slashed by at least half, he sparked a debate over its affect on the Indian entertainment industry. GST or Goods and Services Tax is set to be launched next month and aims at replacing a tangled web of central and state levies with a single tax. For the film industry, the entertainment and services taxes will be replaced by a single 28 per cent slab.
The entertainment and other taxes vary in different parts of India. For Hindi films, 28 per cent is a drop from the current rate in cities like Mumbai. Haasan’s argument is that regional films, Bollywood movies and Hollywood cannot be placed on the same slab. He added that this rate will ruin regional films.
Today, at the trailer launch of his upcoming production MOM, producer Boney Kapoor was asked for his opinion on the new rate. Boney, who has been producing films for past 20 years and is the name behind hits like Mr India, Pukar, Company, No Entry and Wanted, admitted that the 28 per cent tax slab will have an affect on the producers from Bollywood and regional industries. He added that various filmmakers’ associations have been talking to the respective state finance ministers to discuss its implementation.
“Definitely producers’ bodies will be affected whether its from Mumbai or Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengal. All producers’ association are talking to the finance ministers of their respective states. And I hope that it would be a constructive move and we should look at the positive aspect of this and hopefully this act would prove the boon rather than a debating point for us,” Boney said.
Also present at MOM trailer launch was its main cast, including Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. When Nawaz sas asked about the effect of GST, he joked, “This is a very technical question. I don’t even know how much tax is deducted.” GST, India’s biggest tax overhaul, is set to debut on July 1. A small list of goods will be exempt from taxes while the rest will be taxed at the approved rates of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.