Tamil film star Vijay’s Diwali release ‘Sarkar’ is facing criticism from the ruling AIADMK for an alleged reference to late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, and the fact that it has allegedly depicted certain government schemes in a poor light. A section of AIADMK ministers have demanded that a few scenes be cut from the movie, while some have threatened to even file a case against the film’s makers.
“The scenes relating to burning of government welfare amount to inciting of violence. Whether it is the producer (Sun Pictures) or the actor (Vijay), or theatres– they will have to face action,” Law Minister C Ve Shanmugham told news agency PTI.
Reports suggested that certain scenes show grinder, mixers and fans being set on fire. These scenes are seen as obvious references to the Jayalalithaa’s flagship schemes to provide these household items free of cost to voters, in keeping with an electoral promise made in 2011. Many AIADMK supporters also staged protests outside some theatres in Coimbatore and Madurai that were screening the Vijay-starrer on Thursday.
Senior AIADMK leader D Jayakumar said it was an attempt to malign the former party chief. Questioning if the filmmakers could have come up with such a film when Jayalalithaa was alive, he said, “Why unnecessarily make such references. It shows vendetta and an attempt at maligning (her).” He claimed that the Jayalalithaa’s death has “emboldened” the makers of the film.
On Wednesday, a day after the film released, Tamil Nadu’s Information and Publicity Minister, Kadambur C Raju, warned the makers of the film to remove a scene that shows people throwing away freebies provided by the Tamil Nadu government.
He said, “This is not good for an upcoming actor like Vijay. I know people won’t accept these scenes. It was brought to our knowledge and this was disappointing. ” He added that the government will take the steps necessary to chop the scenes.
Vijay’s last film, Mersal also faced criticism and controversies. BJP’s Tamil Nadu chief, Tamilisai Soundararajan, had pointed out how some scenes showed the Goods and Services Tax and Digital India in poor light. Facing pressure from BJP, the producers of Mersal had said they were willing to remove portions that “created misunderstanding” in people’s minds.
Politicians including Rahul Gandhi, MK Stalin and Kamal Haasan criticised the BJP for demanding the cuts, saying that it curtailed a filmmaker’s freedom of expression.