Inam, the latest film by noted cinematographer-director, Santhosh Sivan, faced an unofficial ban in Tamil Nadu after the distributors were forced to withdraw it from theatres on Monday following protests.
Released on Friday, the film narrates the last phase of the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war through a war-orphan who trains to become a suicide bomber.
While the subject is sensitive in Tamil Nadu, what has skewed the scenario is the ongoing poll campaign where the war and its aftermath are emotive issues.
The initial round of protests came from fringe groups, most notably in neighbouring Puducherry Union Territory. A group of persons belonging to Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, staged protests and attacked a theatre where the film was running.
Faced with the prospect of worsening agitations, those behind the project tried to salvage the situation by offering to delete about four scenes and mute a dialogue. N Lingusamy, who distributed the film under his banner, Thirrupathu Brothers, said they had decided to remove the concerned scenes. However, by then MDMK general secretary Vaiko, one of the most ardent supporter of the Tigers and Velupillai Prabakaran, joined the protest bandwagon.
Noting that the filmmaker was a Keralite, Vaiko said Sivan had acted as a tool of the murderous Lankan regime by making this film that contains the poison of Sinhalese propaganda. “Its screening in Tamil Nadu is akin to spitting on the Tamil race,” he said.
Following this, Lingusamy announced that his company will pull Inam off screens across Tamil Nadu. Reportedly the Hindi version, Ceylon, will continue to run in theatres outside the state. Santhosh Sivan was not available for comment.
Vaiko’s attack on Keralites has a close connection to the Lankan civil war. According to hardline Tamil nationalists, the Malayalee clique in top offices played a role in joining forces with the Lankan government to destroy the rebels.