After jallikattu, it's season demonetisation and GST in Tamil cinema. Right after the protests that shook Tamil Nadu early this year, demanding that jallikattu be permitted in the state, a series of Tamil films made references to the traditional bull taming sport through songs, dialogues and imagery.
Now, a year since demonetisation and a few months after the GST was implemented, Tamil films have started taking potshots against both. This is a sharp change from last year when several celebrities had tweeted in support of demonetisation.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Silambarasan with his song 'Demonetization Anthem' from Thatrom Thookrom. With lyrics by Kabilan Vairamuthu, the song starts with, "The two notes of Gandhi have gone missing" and "Banks and ATMS ran asku busku (empty)". The visuals show ordinary people standing in long queues while the song points out that those like businessman Vijay Mallya escaped to foreign countries despite debt.
With the refrain "No cash!", the song revisits those initial days of cash crunch. Interestingly, it cites the two stalwarts of Kollywood, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, who'd tweeted their enthusiasm for demonetisation to show how people trusted the move blindly, celebrating without asking questions.
The song also says, "Just when we thought it was over, GST came!" Calling the money that the poor have as 'red money', the video shows a cartoon of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley looking at graphs of the tanking economy and the jokes on social about it.
The BJP is yet to react to the song. After the party took strong objection to Tamil film Mersal for certain scenes that make a scathing attack on demonetisation and GST, the controversy raged on for weeks. H Raja of the BJP even alleged that it was because actor Vijay was a Christian that the film had such scenes. The Telugu version was released with muted dialogues.
However, this is not over yet, as Simbu's song proves. Another upcoming film, RJ Balaji's Kee, also takes a dig at GST.