Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government has a new ploy to promote Tamil - Tamil films with Tamil titles. And the idea is bearing rich dividends, at least to the entertainment industry. Despite a loss of Rs 50 crore to the state exchequer, the government plans to continue with the scheme.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi says, "Films with Tamil titles will be exempted from entertainment tax for the benefit of film lovers."
The scheme is simple - make a Tamil film with a Tamil title and retain 15 per cent of the day's collections. Clearly the state government will stop at nothing to promote the language, even if it burns a hole in the pocket of the state exchequer.
"I was actually contemplating that we re-impose the tax as our government is already suffering a loss of Rs 50 crore because of the waiver," says Karunanidhi.
Some say Rs 50 crore annually is a small price to pay as the incentive has seen an increase in the number of films being produced through the year. Small budget films like Subramaniapuram and Nadogal have had a successful run at the box office.
Director-producer-actor Sashi Kumar says, "Actually the audience thoughts have changed as a lot of good movies are coming. And because of tax relaxation, producers like us benefit."
Theatre owners meanwhile, have their own reasons to cheer.
President, Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association, Abirami Ramanathan says, "As an exhibitor, I'm very happy because I can modernise my theatre and more money is flowing in. We are coming to international standards. More and more theatres are coming up for example in Chennai, over the next three years you'll be surprised as another 40 theatres are opening."
Exemption on entertainment tax has seen the film industry through the bad times, although it's a burden on the state exchequer. While this means good news to the film industry, for the common man it's still bad roads and powercuts but lots of entertainment.