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'Guru' declared tax-free in Uttar Pradesh
The Uttar Pradesh government Tuesday declared the Abhishek Bachchan-Aishwarya Rai starrer "Guru" as tax-free in the state.
This decision was taken by the Mulayam Singh Yadav cabinet, which had over its three-and-a-half-year existence exempted at least 17 other Bachchan-starrers from entertainment tax. Each of these had either Big 'B' Amitabh Bachchan or his son Abhishek in the lead.
"Guru", directed by Mani Ratnam, is believed to depict the rags-to-riches' real life story of industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani and has been quite a hit at the box-office.
Clearly, the state government has gone out of the way to declare "Guru" as tax-free. As per the laid down criterion, a film can be considered for tax exemption only if 70 percent of its shooting was carried out in Uttar Pradesh. Besides it should be carrying a positive message for society.
State Revenue Minister Ambika Chaudhary said: "The film fulfils the official criterion."
The minister refuted any kind of "special favour" to the Bachchan clan. He even cited the example of Bhojpuri films to justify the decision on "Guru".
"After all tax exemptions have also been granted to so many Bhojpuri films," he added. However, when his attention was drawn to the fact that most Bhojpuri films were shot extensively in Uttar Pradesh, he chose not to make any comment.
Mulayam Singh had earlier invited criticism for allegedly extending similar favour to the Bachchan family.
In fact, the worst came when "Bunty aur Bubli" was exempted from entertainment tax. The film sought to blatantly convey that there was nothing wrong in using unlawful shortcuts to get rich.