Pro-Kannada organisations working under the banner of ‘Kannada Okkoota’ are firm on their demand for an apology from veteran Tamil actor Sathyaraj to allow the screening of Baahubali 2 in Karnataka next week. The organisations are miffed over Sathyaraj’s remarks over the Cauvery dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and have threatened a bandh in Bengaluru city on April 28, the movie’s release date, over the issue.
They have refused to give up their demand for an apology despite movie director SS Rajamouli pleading on social media against linking the film to comments made by the actor Sathyaraj in his personal capacity. Rajamouli appealed to Kannadigas through a video message on social media asking them to cooperate with the release of his movie in Karnataka as the movie was not connected in any way to the statements of Sathyaraj, who plays the role of Kattappa in the film.
However, the president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and president of the Dr Rajkumar Fans Association, Sa Ra Govindu, said that Kannada Okkoota wants an unconditional apology from Sathyaraj if Baahubali 2 is to be screened in the state. “We don’t have any issue with Baahubali or Rajamouli. We respect him as he is a hardworking and creative person. We don’t want his clarification or apology. We want Sathyaraj’s apology. We won’t allow the release of the movie until he does so,” Govindu said.
According to Vatal Nagaraj, who is one of the leaders of Kannada Okkoota, Sathyaraj had made “bad comments” about Karnataka and Kannada activists during the Cauvery row between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu last year.
“We are not against the movie Baahubali. We have informed distributors and theatre owners in the state not to release the movie until Sathyaraj seeks an apology from the people of Karnataka. If the movie releases without an apology we will not be responsible for any consequences,” Nagaraj said. He said that people from over 2000 pro-Kannada organisations will gather at Town Hall around 11 am on April 28 and take out a procession.