Ilayathalapathy Vijay’s much-awaited film Mersal released on Wednesday amid huge fanfare across the world. However, the film has run into trouble with the pro-Kannada groups in Karnataka.
A video on Facebook shows a theater in Bengaluru being vandalised by Kannada activists. We can hear the protesting members using expletives and threatening violent retaliation against some unidentified persons who are, reportedly, fans of Vijay.
Fans had erected big cutouts of Vijay at the Sampige Theatre in Malleshwaram and that was said to be the main reason that led to the controversy. According to Kannada news channels, Tamil film fans reportedly attacked Kannada-speaking persons for staring at Vijay cutouts. More details on the issue are awaited.
Karnataka Film Chamber Of Commerce President SA Ra Govindu was leading the protest outside Sampige Theatre even as the protesters demanded to cancel the remaining shows of Mersal.
The Kannada activists also staged protests in Mysuru, where a theater was forced to stop screening the film, said TV reports.
The protests seem to have not affected the screening of the Tamil film in other parts of Bengaluru.
It is not the first time that pro-Kannada organisations are staging protests against a non-Kannada film. Earlier this year, director SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali: The Conclusion faced an unofficial ban from pro-Kannada groups for the remarks made by Sathyaraj over nine years ago.
Mersal starring Vijay in the lead role opened in more than 3000 screens worldwide. It also took a massive opening in Karnataka, where the morning shows began as early as 6 am. The film is directed by Atlee and has Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal, Nithya Menen among others in important roles.