A RTI query by news website Scroll.in has revealed that Meghdhanushya, a Gujarati movie based on the life of gay prince Manavendra Singh Gohil, is the only movie till date that has been denied tax exemption by the state Government because of its subject.
To give a boost to movies in Gujarati, the State Government provides 100% tax exemption to Gujarati colour movies produced after April 1997, except for movies that depict evil customs, blind faith, sati, dowry and such “social evils,” and those “against national unity”. Meghdhanyshya — The colour of life, is a movie by K R Devmani’s and depicts the sufferings of homosexuals. It was cleared by the Censor Board as well. However, Gujarat Government denied tax exemption to the movie stating that it encourages homosexuality, could cause disharmony in the society, and no “decent family” would want to watch it.
Gujarat High Court had however ruled against the government. However, in an appeal filed before the Supreme Court, the apex court stayed the tax exemption again and called homosexuality “akin to social evil for some”.
The RTI application also revealed that only 5 films have been denied tax exemption till now, with four of the other films being refused the exemption because of technical reasons. Meghdhanyshya was the only one that was denied the exemption because it dealt with homosexuality.