Director Cheran, lyricist Thamarai and other celebrities in the industry requested Vijay Sethupathi to reconsider his decision of acting in the biopic of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan. On October 13, Vijay Sethupathi released the motion poster of his upcoming film 800, which is based on the journey and struggles of popular Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Since then, the actor has been receiving severe criticism from Tamils for portraying Muralitharan, who hails from a country that oppressed Eelam Tamils. Netizens also recalled Muralitharan’s pro-Rajapaksa comments and his support for the military action against LTTE that he had reportedly made in the past.
CRITICISM FROM CELEBRITIES
Many celebrities including director Cheran and lyricist Thamarai asked the actor to turn down the offer. Cheran took to Twitter to tell Vijay Sethupathi that a film is not bigger than people who respect him.
Cheran’s tweet in Tamil can be translated as, “@VijaySethuOffl Tamils from all over the world doesn’t want you to be a part of 800.. This film is not bigger than the people who made you live. Brother .. Leave it. There are many characters out there which can bring out the performer in you (sic).”
— Cheran (@directorcheran) October 14, 2020
Lyricist Thamarai sent a letter condemning Vijay Sethupathi and team for making a film on Muttiah Muralitharan. She recalled the Mullivaikkal incident and said that Muralitharan failed to voice his support for Sri Lankan Tamils. Thamarai said, “If Muralidaran was only a cricketer and an achiever, no one would objected you playing him on screen. Many had a balanced take on him playing for the Sri Lankan team. In fact, when his playing in the team was criticised during his early years, LTTE’s chief Prabhakaran had said, ‘Let’s not hinder him from playing cricket. Let’s take it as one of our boys playing the game’. But then, he e became a Sinhalese politician. He became the loudspeaker to Rajapakse who was killing Tamils by the dozen. When Tamil blood was being spilled on Mullivaikkal, he rejoiced terming it as a good day. And he described the laments of Tamil mothers who were searching for their lost children as ‘drama’. How could a professional actor like you fail to realise the fact that he was playing a role in the drama staged by the Sri Lankan government to hide its genocide? (sic).”
Director Seenu Ramasamy, Vijay Sethupathi’s close friend and mentor, took to Twitter to request the actor not to be a part of the film. The director also said that Sethupathi’s another film, Yaathum Oorey Yaavarum Kelir, will touch the hearts of Eelam Tamils and make people proud.
— R.Seenu Ramasamy (@seenuramasamy) October 10, 2020
MAKERS ISSUE CLARIFICATION ON THE FILM’S CONTENT
Earlier today, 800 team issued a statement clarifying on the controvery. They said that the film is being politicised in many ways and it will not hurt any Tamil sentiments. The statement read, “The film does not make any political statement favouring any community. The film is intended to be an inspiration for the young generation to achieve their dreams irrespective of the difficulties they come across in their journey. We as the Producers assure that this film will not showcase any scenes that would belittle the struggles of Eelam Tamils in Srilanka or hurt their sentiments in any way,”
The film will be directed by MS Sripathy.