Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and senior party leader P Chidambaram on Saturday hit out at the Tamil Nadu BJP for demanding cuts in actor Vijay-starrer “Mersal”, which has apparently mocked the GST. The comments come a day after Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan demanded removal of dialogues in the flick which he termed as “untruths” about the GST, rolled out by the BJP-led NDA government on July 1. “Mr Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet which was retweeted by Chidambaram.
Tamil Nadu BJP leaders, including state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan and national secretary H Raja, have strongly opposed references to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the just-released Tamil movie and claimed dialogues in it were “highly inappropriate”.
Against the background, Chidambaram tweeted, “Notice to film makers: Law is coming, you can only make documentaries praising government’s policies.”
“BJP demands deletion of dialogues in ‘Mersal’. Imagine the consequences if ‘Parasakthi’ was released today,” the former Finance Minister said in another tweet.
“Parasakthi” was the debut film of yesteryear top star Sivaji Ganesan in 1952 and the dialogues were written by DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who was then a budding leader in the party and a screen writer. The super-hit movie had powerful dialogues espousing reformist and egalitarian ideals. Chidambaram had asked what would happen if the movie were to be released today.
Replying to the tweet, Tamil Nadu BJP leader and national secretary H Raja said if that were to happen, people would not allow the government to run temples by quoting a popular dialogue from it.
Raja was reiterating the stand of the BJP and right-wing outfits that the state government should stop administering temples and hand them over to devotees.
Raja also claimed that the film exposed Vijay’s “hatred” for Modi.
Soundrajan, who has been opposing the references to the GST, in a tweet said, “MERSAL ridicules Dedicated Doctors disheartened/ambulance drivers shown corrupt/doctors should take 5rupees while the actor gets crores??”
AISMK chief and actor Sarath Kumar tweeted: “A film which is CERTIFIED by censor board cannot be questioned. If questionable, why censor board at all?#Mersel.” Taking to Twitter, Tamil film actor Kamal Haasan said, “Mersal was certified. Don’t re-censor it. Counter criticism with logical response. Don’t silence critics. India will shine when it speaks.”
Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor said that the Congress stood for freedom of expression. “Remember: @INCIndia stands for freedom of expression, in or out of power. Creative freedom is only safe in the hands of those who value it,” he tweeted tagging Rahul Gandhi.