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GST, demonetisation references muted in ‘Mersal’ Telugu version

‘Adirindhi’ was finally released on Thursday after being held up for two weeks.

Adirindhi, the Telugu version of the Tamil hit Mersal, was released on Thursday after a delay of two weeks after the producers agreed to mute two contentious scenes criticising the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation of high-value currency notes, The News Minute reported.

According to the Times of India, the Central Board of Film Certification had given Sri Thenandal Films the choice of either deleting the scenes altogether or muting them.

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Mersal, directed by Atlee, was released on October 18 and has reportedly crossed the Rs 200-crore mark at the box office worldwide. The movie tackles medical malpractice and stars Vijay in three roles, as a philanthropic farmer and his sons. Members of the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu unit had objected to two scenes in Mersal that were critical of central government policies.

In a two-and-a-half minute sequence, one of Vijay’s three characters criticises GST, saying that despite a high maximum tax rate of 28%, India has not been able to provide free and quality healthcare to all its citizens. In another sequence, Vijay’s character is about to be robbed in a foreign country when he shows the thug a wallet that is empty, thanks to the Modi government’s push towards cashless transactions.

Sri Thenandal Films, had offered to delete the contentious scenes but eventually decided to retain them in the Tamil version. Many actors, politicians and other prominent personalities, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, rallied behind the film and its makers.

“The controversies that have arisen over the last few days have caused us a great deal of heartache,” Shri Thenandal Films head Hema Rukmini had said in a press statement earlier. “The movie Mersal is not against anyone, nor does it portray any views against the government. ‘Medical care for the common man’ is the core of the film.”

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