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‘Cops banging at my door’: Tweet by Sarkar director Murugadoss adds to row

The filmmaker said in the petition, filed through his counsel Vivekanantha, that there was no intention to cast any leaders in poor light. He added they have removed the “objectionable” scenes and “mute” an apparent reference to the late Jayalalithaa.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2018 14:47 IST
AR Murugadoss,Sarkar,AIADMK
The censor board has permitted to screen the edited version of the movie.(Ram Muthuram Cinemas/Twitter)

Chennai Police denied on Friday they were out to arrest AR Murugadoss after the director of Tamil film Sarkar, facing protests by the ruling AIADMK’s workers over the alleged “poor” portrayal of their late leader J Jayalalithaa, tweeted the force came to his house on Thursday.

“Police had come to my house late tonight and banged the door several times. Since I was not there they left the premises. Right now I was told there is no police outside my house,” Murugadoss tweeted late on Thursday night.

Chennai’s police commissioner AK Viswanathan denied any move to arrest the filmmaker and said the police personnel were on a routine patrol.

However, a large number of police personnel were deployed near the director’s house on Thursday night.

Murugadoss moved the Madras High Court on Friday seeking an anticipatory bail following a series of protests by workers of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam against the Vijay starrer.

The filmmaker said in the petition, filed through his counsel Vivekanantha, that there was no intention to cast any leaders in poor light. He added they have removed the “objectionable” scenes and “mute” an apparent reference to the late Jayalalithaa.

The censor board has permitted to screen the edited version of the movie, he added.

“The distributors of different regions got together with the producers to make this decision and the re-censor is being done only because certain scenes have been changed,” Sarkar’s publicist Riaz K Ahmed said.

‘Unlawful protests’

Actor Vishal expressed his shock on Twitter. “Police in Dir Murugadoss s home????? For Wat?? Hoping and really hoping that nothing unforeseen happens. Censor has cleared the film and the content is watched by public.den why all this hue and cry,” he tweeted.

Tamil star Rajinikanth also came out in support of the director, slamming the AIADMK for objecting to and seeking changes to a film cleared by the censor board.

“It is against the law to hold protests seeking removal of some scenes from a Censor board certified film and trying to stall the screening and damaging the banners,” he tweeted.

‘Objectionable scenes’

The AIADMK has been protesting since the Diwali release of the movie with senior AIADMK ministers demanding deletion of the objectionable scenes, besides threatening to initiate legal action if the film crew failed to comply.

Vijay plays a non-resident Indian in the film, who returns to India to vote only to realise his vote has been cast illegally. He then digs deep into the matter, stirring up a political turmoil.

Certain scenes show grinder, mixers and fans being burnt, seen as an obvious reference to the late Jayalalithaa’s flagship schemes of providing these items free of cost, in line with an electoral promise in 2011.

A woman character’s name in an alleged reference to Jayalalithaa’s birth name also added to the controversy. Komalavalli, a manipulative politician, has been essayed by Varalakshmi Sarathkumar, which was another key reason for the protests by the AIADMK.

‘Sarkar’, seen as a launch pad for Vijay’s career in politics, has the actor mouthing lengthy dialogues criticising the government for doling out freebies. He also touches upon other issues like the fishermen’s travails and the firing on anti-Sterlite protesters in Thoothukudi.

That the film has been produced by Sun Pictures of Kalanithi Maran, the grand nephew of former DMK leader M Karunanidhi, also angered the AIADMK. They claimed that the free television sets, launched by the then Karunanidhi government, had been left out of those being burnt.

Nearly 100 irate party supporters tore up the film’s banners and posters amid the presence of police. Theatres and multiplexes across the state have stopped screening the movie since Thursday apprehending further violence.

State revenue minister RB Udhayakumar welcomed Murugadoss’ move removing the controversial portions.

“We are happy for Murugadoss and his team as they respected our sentiments and removed the particular portions critical to Jayalalithaa,” the minister said while speaking to the media.

State fisheries minister D Jayakumar said as an emerging actor, Vijay should have avoided criticising the AIADMK’s schemes.

“We will take proper action against the makers of the movie if they fail to remove the controversial scenes,” he said while speaking to the Hindustan Times.

Theatre owners’ body said on Friday the edited version would be screened from the afternoon.

M Subramaniam, the president of West Zone Theatre Owners’ Association, said they had spoken to Sun Pictures and the film’s Tamil Nadu distributor, telling them they could not screen the movie with objectionable scenes.

“They said they would edit the scenes. Following a letter of approval from the censor board, we will start screening the edited version Friday afternoon,” he told PTI.

First Published: Nov 09, 2018 14:46 IST