News Tamil

I-T department claims to have seized Rs77 crore from Tamil film financier's homes and offices

Anbu Chezhiyan had bankrolled superstar Vijay's latest release Bigil (2019), among several other films. Vijay's residence was also searched but no unaccounted money was found.

Vijay and Anbu Chezhiyan

Haricharan Pudipeddi

The income-tax department has revealed that its officials have seized assets worth Rs77 crore from residences of well-known Tamil film financier Anbu Chezhiyan, who bankrolled superstar Vijay’s latest release Bigil (2019), among many other Tamil films.

A statement issued by the department said raids were conducted at the residences and offices of AGS Group, which includes AGS Cinemas and AGS Entertainment, Vijay himself, and Anbu Chezhiyan.

Anbu Chezhiyan, according to a report by The News Minute website, is a well-known industry insider who often backs production houses monetarily. He has also been accused by several people in the past of behaving like a loan shark. In November 2017, he was booked for abetment of the suicide of producer Ashok Kumar who had claimed to have been harassed over debts.

The raids were conducted at over 20 locations related to the AGS group. The officials also gatecrashed the shooting of Vijay’s next film, Master (2020), in Neyveli. The superstar was reportedly issued summons over his income following the success of Bigil, which grossed over Rs300 crore worldwide.

The income-tax department's statement added that officials did not seize a single rupee of unaccounted cash from Vijay's residence.

Vijay's previous blockbusters, Sarkar (2018) and Mersal (2017), had fallen afoul of the ruling parties in Tamil Nadu and New Delhi, respectively. The producers of Sarkar had to delete some scenes that were critical of the state government's freebies for voters. Mersal had run into trouble with the Bharatiya Janata Party for its criticism of the goods and services tax introduced in July 2017 by the government of prime minister Narendra Modi.

Vijay is currently shooting for Master, which is being directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj. The film features Vijay in the role of a college professor and has a college backdrop for the most part of the story. It is also the first time Vijay and Vijay Sethupathi will be sharing screen space. Vijay Sethupathi plays the antagonist.

The team has so far completed two schedules of shooting. Recently, the makers shot a major portion of the film in a prison in Shimoga in central Karnataka.

Malavika Mohanan, who made her Tamil film debut via Rajinikanth’s Petta (2019), has been signed to play the leading lady. The film also stars Andrea Jeremiah in a key role.