For years, Kerala and Tamil Nadu failed to build a bridge over the Mullaperiyar dam issue. Now, a movie, believed to be based on the issue, has driven another wedge between the neighbours.
The soon-to-be-released English movie, Dam 999, directed by Kerala-born NRI Sohan Roy, has upset Tamil Nadu politicians - leading them is DMK chief M Karunanidhi - as they think it's tilted towards Kerala.
The '999' in the movie's title triggered their ire because Tamil Nadu has control over the 116-year-old dam in Idukki district of Kerala for 999 years under an agreement between the British and the erstwhile Travancore royals.
Citing safety concerns, Kerala proposed a new dam, but Tamil Nadu opposes it, pushing for increasing the height of the dam. The two states are locked in a legal fight in the Supreme Court.
Following the uproar, the Tamil Nadu film exhibitors association declared on Wednesday that it would not screen the
Kerala, however, has no ban plan.
Roy said in a statement, "There is no mention of Mullaperiyar in the movie. It is actually a tribute to the people of Dam Banqiao (in China) where a dam collapse in 1975 killed 250,000 people."
But Tamil politicians are not convinced.
Karunanidhi said, "If the movie is released, it will create a law and order problem."
But Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said, "The question is not the movie. It is about the safety of the people who are staying in the vicinity of the old dam."
The controversy has reached Delhi. DMK members in the Lok Sabha, led by their parliamentary party leader TR Baalu, rushed to the well of the House earlier in the day demanding a ban on the film's release.
Inputs from agencies