January 13, 2021
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Currency Ban: Lessons From Sivaji And Pichaikkaran

All your Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes are not worthless; here's how to get your new ones

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Currency Ban: Lessons From Sivaji And Pichaikkaran
Currency Ban: Lessons From Sivaji And Pichaikkaran

For an offbeat film buff, I end up watching some films that come across as not so fanciful for many. But, two films in recent years that have fuelled ideas on sorting the black money issue must have inspired the government functionaries I assume. The way films inspire youth, these two films in some way could have inspired the Finance Ministry and PMO mandarins.

First, the 2007 superhit Rajini film Sivaji had a great narrative on converting black money into white and how it could help those in need of money. In his impeccable style Rajini mouths, “The rich get richer and the poor, poorer.” The dialogue is first in Tamil and then repeated for the punch in English. For those who have seen the film, the plot would unravel and show how stacks of money stashed away was brought out. There have been several other films with similar themes from time immemorial.

Read Also: Rajinikanth congratulates Prime Minister Narendra Modi 

Now, for what is being called a surgical strike on black money, earlier this year in March, yet another Tamil film, Pichaikkaran, which literally means beggar had a beggar speaking to an FM radio jockey on ways to end the black money problem. You can search on Youtube for ‘Why Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes should go away – Pichaikkaran’ to reach the exact scene. The traffic to this scene has gone up considerably since the evening of November 8, 2016. The beggar in the scene is voicing out exactly what Prime Minister did last evening: “Notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will not be legal tender from midnight tonight.”

Though the film industry is better known for the black money on which it mostly functions, there are lessons that one can take from films to solve larger problems at times. Now for some reality checks with the withdrawal of the high value Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes; they are not worthless for most of us. We will be able to use them with restrictions (See: Table) over the next 50 days and then subsequently till March 31, 2017.


As for those hoarding it and figuring what to do, I can think of one productive way – give it to charities like temples and trusts where the daily need for cash is high. This may be your way of atoning to the sins of hoarding the ill-gotten cash in the first place. Not sure if God will be listening, but then, there is a possibility that your conscious may come clean. The other benefit of this approach is that the money will get used for the good of the have-nots.

(Author is the Editor of Outlook Money)

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