Work in Tamil entertainment industry came to a grinding halt on Monday following a one-day fast by the stakeholders demanding scrapping of service tax levied by the Centre on artistes with superstar Rajnikanth joining other stars at the protest in Chennai.
Besides Rajnikanth, actors Vijay, Surya, Sarathkumar, Prabhu, Radhika are among those who joined the day-long token fast called by apex bodies of film and TV actors, directors, producers technicians, theatre owners and distributors.
The protesters contended that the 12.36% service tax levied by the Centre on film and TV personalities' earnings on programmes and endorsements would cast additional burden on them as they were already paying income tax.
Noting that the Centre was taking several measures to curb black money, Rajnikanth observed that increasing taxes would only lead to more black money.
"They (Centre) may be aware of this trend. I feel if stringent laws are framed to penalise tax defaulters, that will bring in more money to the government," he said.
"I hope they (Centre) will definitely withdraw this service tax heeding to our request," he said in his speech at the protest venue near Valluvar Kottam in the heart of the city.
A host of personalities from film and television industry including directors and producers, distributors technicians and theatre owners are participating in the strike which began at 8 am and ends at 5 pm.
Actor and President of the South Indian Film Artistes Association Sarathkumar said the entire entertainment industry wanted the service tax to be withdrawn. Film and TV shooting and other allied activities remained suspended during the protest.
Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association President 'Abhirami' Ramanathan said all theatres in the state would remain shut till 5 pm.