Commercial Taxes Department Review Committee refused entertainment tax exemption for the film

Actor Vijay’s much-hyped Eid release ‘Thalaivaa’ failed to show up in theatres in Tamil Nadu on Friday, much to the agony of his fans.

The film’s producers, who held discussions with exhibitors till late Friday night, were hopeful of getting it released at least by Saturday afternoon.

Though the producers attribute the delay to security concerns, with various theatres and exhibitors receiving threats from unknown groups, industry insiders say the State government’s rejection of the producers’ application for exemption from entertainment tax has delivered a body blow to the high budget movie.

The tax burden may lead to a considerable cut in earnings and is often key to the financial success of blockbusters. However, one of its producers, Sunil Chandraprakash Jain, said the delay in the release was not due to lack of tax exemption

He told The Hindu that they got a communication from a senior police officer that the police had not called for any postponement of the film’s release and that they were free to release it whenever they wanted. “There were reports of threats by various groups to theatres. We just wanted to be sure. We are ascertaining the ground reality and hope to release the movie at least by Saturday afternoon”.

A government order dated August 8 said the Commercial Taxes Department Review Committee refused entertainment tax exemption to ‘Thalaivaa’ citing various reasons: the presence of over 400 English words in the dialogues, depiction of violence and the hero “taking law into his own hands”. All panel members said the movie, which has a ‘U’ certificate’, had excessive violence and English and Hindi dialogues.