news Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 05:30
  Despite the piracy trouble, hit Malayalam remake of Drishyam and Kamal Haasan starrer ‘Papanasam’ has been getting an overwhelming response at the theatres. A character originally played by Mohanlal, Kamal Haasan has got rave reviews for his role as Suyambulingam in the movie. The Tamil Nadu government however, is not impressed and has refused a tax exemption for the film. According to a Tamil Nadu Government Order dated July 3, a panel which included well-known film industry personalities have decided that no entertainment tax exemption would be provided for the movie’s producers. Entertainment tax exemption has been an incentive provided to Tamil movies which have a title in Tamil. But recent amendments to the TN Entertainment Tax also ordered that the movie should conform to required violence and obscenity norms and depict Tamil culture appropriately. (spoilers ahead) Mentioning a string of objections, the panel which included Tamil music director Sankar Ganesh and playback singer LR Easwari took up a number of issues with the movie - the graphic violence depicted in the movie, the negative characterisation of the police force, the portrayal of new methods of obscenity and blackmail. Stating that the movie set a bad example by depicting an individual who was trying to escape punishment for a crime he had done, they said that atonement or justification by taking a dip in a river was objectionable. Another bone of contention listed in the G.O was the portrayal of the police force , especially where the cops are shown beating up children in the name of an enquiry. There were also concerns that the movie would give viewers new ideas about how to go about committing the perfect crime. Each of the panel members including KM Sekar, the Director, Tamil Development, actress MN Rajam and singer, AL Raghavan. listed out almost similar points for denying the movie its tax exemption. AL Raghavan also criticised the depiction of  methods used to threaten a girl into agreeing to demands, which set a wrong precedent for viewers.  Kamal Haasan has however made it clear that he did not agree with the reasons cited for refusing tax exemption.“Suyambulingam as a character thinks that covering up a murder is justified. It does not mean that I am endorsing it,” he said, reported The Hindu.  The idea of allowing exemption for Tamil movies was introduced by the DMK-led TN government in 2006. It encouraged films to avoid carrying movie titles in English by providing tax exemption to those who complied.  However in the year 2011, the Commercial Taxes Department decided that apart from the mandatory Tamil title, more norms were to be added. Films had to be necessarily “U” certified by the Censor Board and were not to depict excessive violence or obscenity. Usually entertainment tax exemption is provided to those Tamil movies having a “U” certificate by the Censor Board. Apart from the mandatory film titles in Tamil, it also required that the movies abstained from depicting high levels of violence or obscenity. Interestingly, the criticism faced by Papanasam is not entirely new. Even after its original Malayalam version Drishyam’s release last year, concerned voices criticised the principles highlighted in the movie. When then Assistant Director General of Police in Kerala, Senkumar expressed his worst fears that the movie would go on to inspire people on how to hide the perfect crime, IPS officer Sreelekha in turn rebuked him. She said that Mohanlal (who played the lead role in Drishyam) had played a number of good roles in the past. If people didn’t get influenced by that, how was it that they would only get influenced by a role with grey shades, she asked. However the issue didn’t die down when following the movie, a murder case was linked to the movie, with the accused reportedly confessing to committing a crime inspired by the movie.  
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