Entertainment Tax exemption to ‘U’ certificate films

Shankar’s ‘Nanban’ and Linguswamy’s ‘Vettai’ are the first beneficiaries of the Tamil Nadu Government’s latest decision to grant entertainment tax exemption to films that have ‘U’ certificates.
A committee constituted by the State Government took the decision recently. Along with ‘Nanban’ and ‘Vettai’ a few other Tamil films also got the benefit.

Last year, 150 Tamil feature films were made. Of them, 29 received the ‘A’ certificate, 34 films got U/A certificate and 87 films the ‘U’ certificate. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) classifies films under four categories: ‘A’, ‘A/U’, ‘U’ and ‘S’ depending on the content and standard of the films.
Certain norms have been laid down for films to be eligible for the tax exemption. The culture of Tamilians and social mores will be factored in while deciding on the eligibility criteria. The industry’s interpretation is that excessive gore, violence or vulgarity need to be avoided. This is to encourage making of films on different themes instead of stereotyped films portraying undue violence and vulgarity just to make the BO ringing. In short, a film to be eligible for the tax concession needs to be aesthetically appealing and sensitive to human impulses and emotions.

There is also a section of the industry that is skeptical. Producers and directors may have their own interests and any clash of interests may make them work at cross-purposes, it is pointed out.
Welcoming the Government’s decision, an actor-director states that the tax waiver may help to bring in a healthy trend .His perception is that the waiver is now content-based, not the title.

T. Siva, vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council, says the Council is raising the level of awareness of the provision for the tax benefit. ‘At all our meetings we tell producers and directors to avoid gore, violence or vulgarity in their films. A 30 per cent tax waiver means a lot to a producer,’ he adds.

V. Packirisamy, regional officer, the Central Board of Film Certification, says the Censor Board also understands ‘Content is the king’.'We will try to be liberal and fair’. There are three forums _ examining committee, revising committee and the film certification appellate tribunal, and aggrieved producers/directors are free to approach them.


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