iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times
Chennai, August 12, 2013
The Junior Commander is facing Senior Trouble. Tamil film star Vijay, revered among the State’s youth as Ilayadalapathy or Junior Commander, is still unable to release his latest movie, Thalaivaa (Leader) in Tamil Nadu.  
The film was to have opened on Friday, August 9. But theatres in Tamil Nadu decided not to release it, supposedly because a hitherto unheard of political group, calling itself Oppressed Students’ Revolutionary Union, sent messages to leading multiplex cinemas in Chennai warning them against screening Thalaivaa.

There were two more stumbling blocks which the Vijay starrer faced. One, a civil suit was filed by the son of a Mumbai businessman on whom Vijay’s character is said to have been based. The son alleged that the movie portrayed his father and grandfather as dons, whereas they were actually community leaders who had gone out of their way to help the Tamil population in Mumbai’s Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum.

Two, the Tamil Nadu Government refused to give Thalaivaa any tax exemption, and this would have led to the film’s producers loosing heavily.

In any case, Thalaivaa must have already suffered a huge financial loss. With the movie having opened in overseas territories and even in Tamil Nadu’s neighbouring States, pirated disks are already in circulation. Thousands of such illegal disks have been confiscated in Salem. Thalaivaa disks are also available in Chennai’s Burma Bazar.

Vijay’s fans are wondering why the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Government under Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is not helping the actor. He is known to be an ardent supporter of the party. In fact, his prospects brightened after the AIADMK came to power in the State after the last Assembly elections.

During the last Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam rule in Tamil Nadu under Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, Vijay reportedly suffered because he refused to toe the line of the powers that be.

But when Vijay went to Jayalalithaa’s holiday residence in Kodanadu in the Nilgiris on the eve of his film’s opening, she refused to see him, and he had to give his petition to her secretary.

Surprisingly, Karunanidhi issued a statement the other day in support of Thalaivaa. Which merely shows that politics – and cinema – have no permanent enemies or friends!