Tamil film Mersal starring Vijay has landed into a controversy following protests by the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party as well as doctors. Both are up against the movie, which is breaking records on the Box Office, for different reasons. The BJP on Thursday objected to “incorrect references” on Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the Diwali release Tamil film. BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit Tamilisai Sounderrajan on Thursday said “incorrect references on GST” had been made in Vijay starrer ‘Mersal’, according to PTI.
“Incorrect references have been made in ‘Mersal’ about GST (Goods and Service Tax)… celebrities should desist from registering wrong information among people,” Sounderrajan was quoted as saying. While favouring removal of the dialogue referring to the GST rolled out in July this year, she told reporters that fans of the top actor should not support such incorrect references.
“What do they (the filmmakers) know about GST and its economics… such incorrect references should be removed from the film,” she said, adding Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced no corruption charges and has he is working round the clock for people’s welfare.
Support from PMK
Meanwhile, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party has come out in support of the Vijay starrer. The PMK has questioned BJP, saying the film has been certified by the Censor Board.
Lok Sabha MP and PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss was quoted as saying by PTI that reference to GST in Mersal was made in the context of providing free medical care. “It is not proper to criticise it,” Ramadoss said, adding it would be not have been unfair if demands for removing a scene had come up if it hurt the sentiments of someone. However, there is nothing wrong with someone proposing free medical treatment in the backdrop of “high taxation.”
State chapter of the Indian Medical Association has also protested against the movie. According to a Times of India report, Tamil Nadu doctors have said the film portrays medical profession in poor light. The doctors have even prescribed “piracy” the movie.
According to the report, the doctors are sharing links of the movie on a piracy website on social media and asking medical professionals to boycott the film.
In one of the scenes of the film, Vijay’s character says that people have to go to private hospitals as government hospitals fail to offer proper services.
Box Office boom
Mersal did a great business on the day of its release. According to Forbes, Vijay starrer action thriller had a $357,925 opening in the US, beating the day 1 collection of films like Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Sharukh Khan’s Raees in the country. Forbes also reported that as per early estimates, Vijay’s Mersal would collect around Rs 31.3 crore on day 1, making it one of the top three Tamil language openers in the history of Kollywood.
According to noted film critic and business analyst Taran Adarsh, the film earned A$ 133,057 (Rs 68.01 lakhs) at 25 locations in Australian release and £ 94,311 (Rs 81.08 lakhs) in 37 locations in the United Kingdom.
Mersal also earned Rs 1.48 crore in Chennai on its opening day, Behindwoods reported. Mersal has beaten Ajith Kumar starrer Vivegam to set a new record at the Box Office. Vivegam had earned Rs 1.21 crore on first day of release, surpassing Rajinikanth’s Kabali’s Rs 1.12 crore collection, Indian Express reported.
Mersal is Atlee’s second directorial venture with Vijay after ‘Theri’. Oscar winner A R Rahman has scored the music for the movie.