BHOPAL:Two days after Bollywood producer Mahesh Bhatt and actress Vidya Balan paid a courtesy call to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday exempted forthcoming film `Hamari Adhuri Kahani' from entertainment tax in the state.
As government issued notification, Congress breathed fire alleging chief minister Chouhan has suddenly been gripped by "Bollywood fascination" exempting far too many commercial films from entertainment tax to oblige the movie fraternity. Congress alleged that while BJP government was increasing VAT on petrol, diesel and tariff on electricity - it was favouring Bollywood celebrities with tax exemptions.
"Every month, the chief minister announces exemption of entertainment cess from a Bollywood film. Chief minister seems suddenly charmed by Bollywood glitterati," alleged state Congress vice-president Manak Agarwal. "Less than a fortnight ago, he exempted Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone starrer Piku from entertainment tax. We would understand if it was a film with a historical or moral, ethical value for society.
"But now Hamani Adhuri Kahani is a romance film. And without judging the contents of the film, how can a government just exempt a purely commercial film venture from taxes just because the film's producer and heroine paid him a visit?" Manak Agarwal asked.
Congress argued that `Hamari Adhuri Kahani' is a romance thriller in which Vidya Balan as the lead gets into an affair with a hotel magnet and business tycoon played by Emraan Hashmi.
Speaking to TOI, state Congress chief spokesman KK Mishra said when Vidya Balan and Mahesh Bhatt met the chief minister and his wife earlier this week, a request was made to make the film tax free. "CM and his wife were thrilled to meet Vidya Balan and gifted her sarees. And of course, the obligation to make the film tax-free was implemented," Mishra said.
"Our point is, on the one hand state government is increasing VAT on petrol and encouraging sale of cigarettes and liquor to earn more revenue. And on the other, government exempts tax from entertainment. He is benefitting Bollywood and wrenching the common man with higher cess on petrol. The concept of a welfare state has totally gone out of focus for the chief minister," Mishra said.
Congress said they did not protest when cess was exempted from films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or Bhopal a Prayer for Rain. In August, the Chouhan government exempted Rani Mukherjee starrer Mardaani.
Courtesy-The Times Of India