The Quest for the Tax-free Name
Most of the debates in TN are centered around the eligibility of movie name to qualify for the exemption announced by the TN government. Big ticket movies like Dasavatharam and Sivaji have now entered this debate.
The production cost of the Kamal-starrer is likely to be in the region of Rs 25 crore, while it is estimated that the Shankar-directed Sivaji will easily cross Rs 70 crore.The numbers are mind-boggling, “quite an uncharted territory for Tamil films,” as an old producer put it, and how well the films sell depend on whether the films will be granted tax exemption, given to films with Tamil titles. “Otherwise, distributors will knock off 20 percent of their money, since that is the amount they have to remit to the government as tax,” point out industry analysts.
Dasavatharam is thought to be a Sanskrit word, while Sivaji is the name of a Marathi warrior. Legal eagle and journalist ‘Cho’ Ramaswami, when contacted, felt that Dasavatharam will not get tax exemption since it is a Sanskrit word, but Sivaji may get it since it is a noun, and as such has no particular language.
President of the Tamil Film Producers Council (TFPC), Rama Narayanan, when contacted said only films with English words such as Love Birds or Love Pannunga Sir will not get tax exemption. “Any word which has passed into common usage, such as Navarathri or Dasavatharam, will be accepted as a Tamil word.”
If Rama Narayanan says that Dasavatharam can be treated as a Tamil name because of the frequent usage in the Tamil language, why did the Department of Commercial Taxes insist on a stupid name change from Jillunu Oru Kadhal to Sillunu Oru Kadhal?