A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Tamil Nadu slammed Vijay’s new release Mersal for making comments related to contentious Goods and Services Tax (GST), a full-blown political controversy has erupted over the issue with #MersalVsModi hashtag trending on Twitter as support for the filmmakers have been pouring in.
The BJP leaders demanded the references to the GST in the Tamil film be removed. “The film producer should remove the untruths regarding GST from the film,” Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan told on Friday, according to PTI.
Radhakrishnan’s comments come a day after BJP state unit president Tamilisai Sounderrajan accused Mersal of spreading “incorrect” information about the new tax regime.
Senior BJP leader H Raja also hit out at the filmmakers alleging that Mersal reflected Vijay’s “hatred for Modi”. “It is not true that Singapore has free healthcare. In India, school education and the hospital is free. Joseph Vijay’s hatred for Modi is Mersal,” he tweeted raking up the actor’s Christian origin.
As reports about the Mersal filmmakers contemplating to edit out scenes that discuss GST made headlines, the public has come out in large numbers in support of the film. It has led to trolling of the Modi government.
“I don’t think there is a need to remove portions in Mersal that addresses the GST and other issues. When these scenes are played in the theatre, there is a lot of claps as people appreciated and supported them. Politicians should take the hint and reconsider these issues,” director PA Ranjith told the media.
Vijay’s father SA Chandrasekhar threw his weight behind his son, saying many BJP leaders have termed GST and demonetisation as failures.
Veteran actor Kamal Haasan also backed the Vijay starrer and asked those objecting to the movie to counter criticism with logical response. “Mersal was certified. Dont re-censor it . Counter criticism with logical response. Dont silence critics. India will shine when it speaks,” Haasan said in a tweet.
In Mersal, Vetri, the character played by Vijay, remarks that while a country like Singapore charges just 7 per cent GST and provides free healthcare, India, which has high GST rates, can’t afford to do the same.
Meanwhile, the doctor’s associations in the country are also up in the arms against Mersal. The Indian Medical Association of Tamil Nadu has accused the film of portraying medical professionals in poor light and has demanded the members of its fraternity to boycott it.
Not just that, the members of IMA was also circulating the links to pirated versions of the film to affect its box office collection, according to reports.