The motion poster of veteran Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan’s biopic 800 was released yesterday. Directed by MS Sripathy, 800 will see actor Vijay Sethupathy in the lead role. Ever since the motion poster was launched, there has been outrage amongst pro-Tamil groups on social media platforms.
Though the poster was appreciated by a section of film enthusiasts as Vijay Sethupathi looked convincing as the legendary Sri Lankan spinner, the rest were upset that the actor agreed to play Muralitharan. They claimed that Muralitharan didn’t criticize the alleged atrocities of the Sri Lankan government against Tamils during the civil war in Sri Lanka.
A sector of Netizens, mostly cadres of Naam Tamilar Katchi, a small fringe outfit in Tamil Nadu, used Hashtags like #ShameonVijaySethupathi on Twitter to show their disappointment.
Under these circumstances, Dar Motion Pictures, which is bankrolling the movie, has issued a statement saying 800 is “purely a sports biography” about legendary cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan and it is being politicized in many ways.
“The film is a journey about a man who hails from the Tamil migrant community, going on to become the highest wicket taker of all time. The film does not make any political statement favouring any community. The film is intended to be an inspiration for the younger generation to achieve their dreams irrespective of the difficulties they come across in their journey. We as the Producers assure this film will not showcase any scenes that would belittle the struggles of Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka or hurt their sentiments in any way,” the statement read.
Further, the makers claimed that 800 will engage the Tamil film community in Sri Lanka providing the artistes and technicians a platform to showcase their talents on a global stage.
“Art is beyond boundaries; it unites people all across. Artistes belong to the world. We wish to spread only the positivity, love and hope,” the statement added.
In the past, pro-Tamil groups have called for a ban on several movies that have had a Sri Lankan connection. In 2014, Vijay-starrer Kaththi ran into trouble as it was produced under the banner Lyca Productions. The protesters claimed the producers of the movie have a close association with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
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