A day before the release of Mahesh Babu-starrer Maharshi, Income Tax officials raided producer Dil Raju’s office and home in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, to investigate the film’s business dealings.
The producer said in a press meet today that the film will release as planned.
Our Producer Dil Raju about #Maharshi…
— Sri Venkateswara Creations (@SVC_official) May 8, 2019
The income tax officials inquired about Maharshi’s budget, estimated earnings, and pre-release collections, the details of which have been making headlines all week. The film is made on an estimated budget of Rs 100 crore, and its theatrical, distribution, satellite, digital and dubbing rights, according to reports, have earned a record sum of Rs 150 crore for Dil Raju’s Sri Venkateswara Creations, and the co-producers Ashwini Dutt of Vyjayanthi Movies, Prasad Potluri of PVP Cinemas.
IB Times reports that the film’s worldwide theatrical rights were sold for Rs 100 crore, Telugu satellite rights for Rs 16.5 crores, Hindi rights for Rs 20 crores, digital rights for Rs 11 crore, and dubbing and other rights for Rs 2.50 crore. A report by India Times also says the makers have the permission to sell the film’s movie tickets at Rs 50 more than the normal amount.
Income Tax raids have been common ahead of the release of big budget Telugu films, and Dil Raju has also previously been raided when the Ram Charan Teja-starrer Bruce Lee, distributed by him, released in 2015. In 2016, the homes and offices of Baahubali producers were raided. Mahesh Babu came under the scanner of the GST Commissioner Office in Hyderabad in December last year, when the officials attached two of his bank accounts for not paying tax for the services he rendered in 2007 and 2008 as a brand ambassador for the promotion of products. The total tax due from him was Rs 18.5 lakhs. Mahesh Babu’s legal team, however, responded with a statement saying these services were not taxable, and the matter is pending before court.
Maharshi is Mahesh Babu’s 25th film as an actor. Pre-release earnings for the film have crossed the collections made by his previous films Bharat Ane Nenu, Srimanthudu and Brahmotsavam. Two songs from the album released recently and went viral among his fans. The trailer of the film shows him playing the role of a business tycoon who gives up his company to become a farmer. Pooja Hegde and Allari Naresh star in the lead as his friends, and veteran actor Jayapradha plays a pivotal role. Vamshi Paidipally is the director of the film. Devi Sri Prasad is the music composer, KU Mohanan is the cinematographer, and Praveen KL is the editor.
The film was initially scheduled to release on April 25, and was postponed to May 9 due to elections.
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