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Vijay Sethupathi withdraws from Muttiah Muralitharan biopic after request from cricketer

The film, titled 800, was caught up in a controversy over Vijay Sethupathi’s decision to play Muttiah Muralitharan, who is believed to have supported the Lankan government during the civil war with the LTTE.

By: Express News Service | Chennai | Updated: October 20, 2020 7:13:22 am
800 movie800 is a biopic on Muttiah Muralitharan. (Photos: Muttiah Muralitharan/Facebook and Vijay Sethupathi/Facebook)

Following outrage from Tamil nationalists and a section of film personalities and politicians in Tamil Nadu, actor Vijay Sethupathi has decided to opt out of a biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan.

The film, titled 800, was caught up in a controversy over Sethupathi’s decision to play Muralitharan, who is believed to have supported the Lankan government during the civil war with the LTTE.

Even though Muttiah Muralitharan himself tried to explain his case, and argued that he never treated Eelam Tamils with disrespect citing his own Tamil origin, many point out there is footage and news reports suggesting the cricketer’s seemingly supportive stand for Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the island-nation’s President who was the war-time defence secretary, and other remarks made towards the end of the civil war.

In Tamil Nadu, film personalities such as Bharathiraja, Ameer, Thamarai and Cheran and even a state minister, Kadambur C Raju, had made statements urging Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw from the project “considering the sentiments of Tamil people.”

On Monday, Muralitharan issued a statement asking Sethupathi to back out from the project. Thanking the cricketer, Sethupathi shared the statement.

Read | Muralitharan on 800 row: Is it my mistake that I was born a Sri Lankan Tamil? | In Tamil Nadu, row over Vijay Sethupathi playing Muttiah Muralitharan in 800 | Muttiah Muralitharan biopic 800 lands in soup, makers claim film ‘does not make any political statement’ | 800 motion poster: Sethupathi is convincing as Muralitharan

Talking about a section that is “imposing pressure on actor Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw himself from the movie due to the wrong notions surrounding me,” Muralitharan said he doesn’t want an artiste from Tamil Nadu to suffer because of him.

The former international spinner said the movie, planned as an inspiration for future generations, will materialise and that the producers have assured him that further information regarding the project will be announced soon. “I will stand with them,” Muralitharan stated.

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