The three-day stir called by theatre owners and distributors, who have demanded that the Tamil Nadu government withdraw the 30 per cent local body tax imposed on the film industry, would continue tomorrow, as top actors Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan lent their support to the cause. Industry sources said a meeting which was expected today between the film fraternity and the government did not take place as planned. “We were expecting that a meeting will happen today. But it did not (take place). So, as of now the strike continues tomorrow,” an official told PTI on condition of anonymity. He said since the Assembly session was underway, the chief minister could not allot time for the meeting.
“May be a meeting (between industry representatives and government authorities) can happen tomorrow afternoon or evening,” he said. Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who is currently in the US for his health checkup, requested the government to consider the plea by the film industry. “Keeping in mind the livelihood of lakhs of people in the Tamil film industry, I sincerely request the Tamil Nadu government to seriously consider our plea,” he said in a tweet, as the strike entered its third day.
Within hours, superstar Kamal Hassan expressed his gratitude to the “Kabali” star for his support. “Thanks Rajini avargalay for voicing your concern. Lets request first as gentlemen should. Then we shall see. @superstarrajini & TN Govt,” Hassan tweeted. Rajinikanth, who was shooting for his upcoming film “Kaala Karikalan”, left for the US on June 29.
Nearly 1,000 cinema halls in the state are shut since July 3 with exhibitors going ahead with their stir to protest imposition of 30 per cent local body tax in addition to 28 per cent GST. Meanwhile, expressing concern over the issue, Lyca Productions, currently producing Rajinikanth’s magnum opus “2.0” said it would not take up future projects in Tamil Nadu if there was no clarity on the tax structure.
“We will not go ahead with any future projects in Tamil Nadu till we have a clarity on the tax structure. Our existing projects will go on. I am talking about future projects,” the company’s creative head, Raju Mahalingam, told reporters in Chennai. The members of Tamil film producers council, South Indian Artistes Association, along with the theatre owners and distributors, had met Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Monday.
But they decided to continue the protest as the meeting did not yield any positive result. The issue also echoed in the ongoing Assembly session yesterday with Opposition parties DMK and Congress raising it. Responding to it, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani had told members that the government would give due consideration to the problems of all section of people.