Baahubali: The Conclusion is ready for release and many pro-Kannada organisations have started demanding an apology from actor Sathyaraj, who plays the key role of Kattapa in the film, for some controversial remarks he made several years ago. They have claimed that Baahubali: The Conclusion will not be allowed to release in Karnataka if the apology is not tendered. Talking to a news channel recently, director SS Rajamouli said that targeting Baahubali 2 because of Sathyaraj was “not right.”
“It is a sad thing and we were shocked to see that on social media,” Rajamouli told India Today channel. “I worked with Sathyaraj for almost five years and I could have never ever imagined he is a person who could try to hurt someone. Some videos were posted on the internet. When we started inquiring, we learned that whatever comments Mr Sathyaraj made it was nine years back. And after that, about 30 films of his were released in Karnataka. Baahubali 1 released. No one had problems with that. And suddenly, raking up the issue at this point in time is not right,” he added.
He also suggested stopping the screening of the film will not affect Sathyaraj in any way. “He (Sathyaraj) is not the director of the film. He is not the writer or producer or the hero. He is just a supporting actor. He acted in the film and took his remuneration and went away. So whatever people do against Baahubali 2 will not affect him in any manner. It is sad. I think people will understand the issue and it will be resolved,” he said.
While talking to another entertainment portal, Rajamouli said, “We are no way connected with the issue. It is a very sensitive issue. We don’t what to talk about the issue. Whether speaking about it will pacify the issue or instigate it further we don’t know, it is a very sensitive issue. We also don’t know if keeping quiet is the right thing or talking about it. We are in a confused state. We feel turning the anger on Sathyaraj towards Baahubali is not right.”
“It doesn’t affect Sathyaraj in any way. If at all, it only affects the film, which has nothing to with Sathyaraj or his opinion,” said Baahubali producer Shobu Yarlagadda.
At a protest meet in Tamil Nadu during a water sharing dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Sathyaraj attacked pro-Kannada groups and activist Vatal Nagaraj. The veteran Kannada activist has now been leading an anti-Baahubali campaign threatening to stop the screening of the film across the state.
According to reports, no distributors or exhibitors have bought the theatrical rights of Baahubali 2, which is pegged at Rs 40 crore, in Karnataka fearing a backlash from the pro-Kannada groups. The film will hit the screens worldwide on April 28 but will it open in Karnataka? Only time will tell.
Earlier, Vatal Nagaraj told media, “We will not allow any theatre in Karnataka to screen Bahubali. We are not against the film, but against Sathyaraj who plays the character of Kattappa in Bahubali. This man’s remarks crossed all decency limits. He spoke nonsense about Karnataka and Kannadigas. We too staged protests against Tamil Nadu, but not against the people.”
Interestingly, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce also appeared to support Vatal at that point of time. In fact, the body’s president Sa Ra Govindu told a daily, “Till now neither the actor nor the producers have approached the Chamber to discuss the issue. Unless the actor apologises, the screening will not take place in Karnataka. He has insulted Kannadigas.”