Tamil Nadu

Parties spar over 'Mersal'

'Mersal' poster starring Vijay

'Mersal' poster starring Vijay  

BJP slams movie for mocking GST, digital India initiative

Senior BJP leaders from the State on Friday stepped up their attack against the Vijay-starrer Mersal, which had a record opening on Deepavali day, for certain dialogues mouthed by the actor mocking the Goods and Services Tax regime. Opposition party leaders, however, came out strongly in defence of the film.

While the party’s State president Tamilisai Soundararajan had on Thursday called for deleting the scenes which have reference to the GST and the digital India initiative of the BJP government, Union Minister of State Pon Radhakrishnan on Friday backed her demand. “The film producer should remove the untruths regarding GST from the film,” he told journalists in Nagercoil.

In the film, Vijay, in a sequence, asks why India cannot provide universal health care despite charging a 28% GST, while Singapore, which only charges 7%, could provide free healthcare.

On Friday in a series of tweets, BJP national secretary H. Raja, who addressed actor Vijay as “Joseph Vijay”, ostensibly to identify him by his religion, said the party would welcome criticism but would not tolerate lies.

“It is a blatant lie to say that health care in Singapore is free. In India, education and health care are free for the poor. Mersal is the result of Joseph Vijay’s hatred for PM Narendra Modi,” said H. Raja. Incidentally in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the actor had met Mr. Modi in Coimbatore and interacted with him.

Continuing her attack, Ms Tamilisai said, “Wrong information shouldn’t be propagated by big celebrities. It registers with the people.” She added that the film showed doctors, who have dedicated their life to medicine, in bad light.

Disagreeing with the criticism, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Su. Thirunavukkarasar said, “It should be taken in a sportive way. People like those scenes and are enjoying it. People have been affected by GST. The film’s narrative reflects this... In a democratic society, freedom of speech is important.”

VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan said that the BJP should protest against the Censor Board, and not the film.

PMK youthwing leader Anbumani Ramadoss asked how it was wrong to demand free universal health care.

CPI(M)’s State secretary G. Ramakrishnan said the State government, acting in close tandem with the BJP government at the Centre, had unsettled the film industry.

The Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association, rubbished the representation of doctors as a whole and government hospitals in particular as “untrue and in cheap taste”. The association asked government doctors to ignore such movies and concentrate on dengue prevention work.

President of the Indian Medical Association, Tamil Nadu Branch, T.N. Ravisankar said he condemned the way doctors had been portrayed in the film.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:41:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/parties-spar-over-mersal/article19894098.ece

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