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Star-struck UP government gives Madhuri Dixit's film a huge tax break

Jan 09, 2014 10:11 PM IST Politics Politics
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Lucknow: After announcing a tax break of Rs 1 crore for Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit's upcoming movie 'Dedh Ishqiya', the Uttar Pradesh government is now considering to wave off 25 pert cent entertainment tax for the film in the state.

Unfazed by the slew of controversies surrounding the state government, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will also be attending the premier of 'Dedh Ishqiya' to be held in Lucknow.

'Saifai Mahotsav' organised at Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh's home town is attracting criticism for the extravagance at a time when victims of communal riots are facing shortage of facilities and battling bitter cold in relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

The state government has provisions to provide subsidy to particular films. Madhuri Dixit's 'Dedh Ishqiya' is majorly shot in Uttar Pradesh and the state film development and promotion policy enables the government to give a subsidy of 1 crore to films which are primarily shot in that state.

With Madhuri's performance, the Saifai controversy has also pulled in her movie in the news. The film's director Abhishek Chaubey, however, cleared the air on CNN-IBN as he said that the timing of Madhuri's performance at Saifai had nothing to do with the movie's promotion or revenue generation.

He added that he was not even aware of the actor's performance at the event.

When asked if the movie had any back door deals with the Samajwadi Party government for receiving the tax break of Rs 1 crore, Chaubey denied all allegations.

Further adding to the government's embarrassment, Samajwadi Party MLC Bhukkal Nawab in an interview to CNN-IBN justified Bollywood stars' performance at the event. "There is nothing wrong with Madhuri's performance. We have done it the past, will do it again," said Bhukkal.

On Wednesday night State Cabinet Minister Shivpal Yadav walked away from a CNN-IBN show after he was grilled for the callous nature of the state government which has been accused of ignoring riot victims.

The Akhilesh government has spent roughly Rs 20 crore on Saifai event. Film stars are officially working pro bono, but unofficial estimates vary from Rs 5 to 10 crore. Seven chartered planes fetched stars from Mumbai and Delhi. Sitting arrangements were made for 25,000 people but over a lakh viewed the glitz. Over 2,000 police officers were deployed.