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Mersal effect: Now, RJ Balaji tweets a GST joke from his film Kee

An upcoming Tamil film Kee, starring popular Tamil RJ-turned-actor Balaji, features a joke on Goods and Services Tax. The RJ shared a clip of the video in a tweet on October 21. See it here.

regional movies Updated: Oct 24, 2017 13:17 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Mersal,RJ Balaji,GST joke Mersal
RJ Balaji with veteran director Mani Ratnam.

Amid the row over mention of GST in the recently released Mersal starring Tamil superstar Vijay, comes the news that a joke on Goods and Services Tax (GST) features in the upcoming Tamil film Kee. A video clip of the scene was shared by popular Tamil RJ-turned-actor Balaji, who stars in it.

On October 21, Balaji shared a clip in which he can be seen discussing going to a restaurant with a friend. He says: “It’ll actually be just you and me dining at a restaurant. But the bill will be so huge that it will look like two more people joined us for dinner. You know who those extra people are? They are GST. They make one’s stomach burn,” he says.

The video was released two days after the state unit of BJP demanded that the scene in which the GST is mentioned should be removed from Vijay-starrer Mersal. On October 18, the BJP objected to what it said were “incorrect references” to the GST in the Atlee-directed film.

In an interview to Scroll, Balaji said it was no coincidence that the makers of Kee, which has been directed by Kalees, decided to release the promo now. “This scene in which I speak about GST is one that we dubbed much before the Mersal controversy. But we wanted to release the scene as a promo now because we wanted to send a message. If you think you can stop one film from talking about issues, there will be many others that will speak up. You can’t stop people from speaking their minds or expressing themselves. We wanted to make a statement that we are not scared and we are not going to stop expressing ourselves.”

When questioned if Kee too was asked to remove the scene, he added, “If anyone asks us to remove the scene, again it will not be justified at all,” Balaji said. “Take Mersal, for example. The censor board itself did not raise any objections to the scene. Now, after the release of the film, nobody has any right to object to anything.”

Mersal shows Vijay talking about GST in a scene, which the BJP wants edited. The party’s Tamil Nadu spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathi called it information that “is factually incorrect and would defame the country”. Other BJP leaders, including state BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan and union minister Pon Radhakrishnan too have pressed for cuts.

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First Published: Oct 24, 2017 13:08 IST