One of the greatest living actors in India, Kamal Haasan has termed the 28% GST on films a very bad move and said he will quit films if the rates are not reduced. He has said that regional language films will be the worst sufferers as they do not have the big budgets of English and Hindi films. He has asked for the rates to be cut to 12%. Otherwise he will have to quit making films as he will not be able to pay these high taxes under GST.
Kamal Haasan has also compared the government to the East India Company and said that the government should not act like the East India Company whose motive was only to make profit from Indians. "As an industry, we request that the GST rate be brought down to 12-15 per cent. At the present rate, I can't afford the tax and I'll be forced to quit. We should remember this is not East India Company," Kamal Haasan was quoted in a newspaper report.
The GST is set to come into effect from July 1 this year. When it comes into force all films irrespective of language will have to pay 28% tax. Till now state governments used to impose entertainment tax. In Karnataka for example entertainment tax on Kannada films was nil. Almost all states had exempted or given tax discounts to the films of the state languages. So Tamil had advantage in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh etc. But under the central government's GST all language films in all states will have to pay the same tax. But most of regional language films are made on small budgets. English and Hindi films have huge budgets.
Kamal Haasan has said that regional language film should not be put under the same tax bracket. He was quoted as saying to a news agency that "Regional films, Hollywood films and Hindi films cannot be put on the same slab and film tickets can't be fixed like an essential service."