How sweet of the Mumbai, Haryana and Delhi state governments to announce that they have exempted India’s favourite movie of the season, Slumdog Millionaire, from entertainment tax.
One of the ideas, of course, is to make the makers of the wonderful British movie richer — which it should considering that 25-30 per cent of the ticket price that goes to the much-entertained government will be knocked off and thereby will tempt more crowds in. But the real reason behind the noble gesture is to get more people to watch a film that Chief Ministers Ashok Chavan, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Sheila Dikshit believe, in the words of Ms Dikshit “created history in the field of Indian cinema”. One can be sure that Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the home states of A.R. Rahman and Resul Pookutty will quickly follow. While we celebrate a film being made exempt from entertainment tax despite not dealing with, say, Mahatma Gandhi as Lage Raho Munnabhai, some awkward things coming in the way of desi Slumdog celebrations have thankfully been spotted by Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
Our ever-vigilant customs officials have found out that each Oscar statuette is worth $500 and two of them — as will be found in Rahman’s suitcase — will be liable to be charged under customs duty. Mr Chidambaram has recommended an Oscars statuette customs duty exemption. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, that makes sense, doesn’t it?