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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Cashing out

Take money out of people’s hands, and the world would be deprived of one of its most powerful idioms.

By: Editorial |
November 9, 2017 1:20:14 am
cinema, Indian Cinema, Cinema finances, GST, cashless, demonetisation, James Bond, Bollywood, Hollywood, India News, Indian Express In a cashless world, what would Dev Anand do with his gambling winnings? How would he pay GST? And how would James Bond cash his chips at the Casino Royale?

There are versions of Monopoly featuring electronic banking and, faithfully mirroring economic reality, they cost much more than the classic cash version. There is also a version of marriage in which the bridegroom does not don a garland made of banknotes, and the wedding procession does not throw cash about. It’s called a court marriage, and it’s pretty grim in comparison to the big fat Indian wedding — which demonetisation has failed to curb. In the worst case scenario, the registrar declines the proffered sweets, the only festive element, claiming to be diabetic.

A less cash world would also be less cultured. Some of the finest moments of cinema could not be filmed, like the climactic scene in Slumdog Millionaire, where a young thug redeems himself by making a last stand with a revolver against his own gang — in a bathtub filled with cash. He could have immersed himself in the Bhim app, too, but it just wouldn’t move the public. And cashlessness would not only make counterfeiting a profitless enterprise, it would also kill off a flourishing sub-genre of pulp. No producer would bet one measly dematerialised rupee on a film about the romance of cloning plastic.

In a cashless world, what would Dev Anand do with his gambling winnings? How would he pay GST? And how would James Bond cash his chips at the Casino Royale? He would have to suck it up into his netbanking account and if they got the number wrong — casinos feature staggering levels of drink and stupidity — it could go elsewhere. Maybe even to Smersh. And that classic scene of Indian cinema, in which a briefcase is opened to display wads of banknotes for a deal? In a cashless world, the director would have to use Amazon gift cards, and the film would flop instantaneously.

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