Rajinikanth’s Darbar in controversy over veiled reference to Sasikala
In ‘Darbar’, Rajinikanth is playing the role of an uncompromising tough cop, whose exchange of dialogue in a scene with a cop in jail, has led to parallels being drawn with Sasikala’s case.Updated: Jan 11, 2020 06:07 IST
Controversies and big ticket Tamil movies appear to be inseparable and the just released Rajinikanth blockbuster, ‘Darbar’, seems to be following the trend by triggering a controversy with a veiled reference to former Chief Minister late Jayalalithaa’s confidant VK Sasikala, now incarcerated in a Bengaluru prison.
In ‘Darbar’, which hit the screens across the globe on Thursday ahead of the Pongal festival, the actor is playing the role of an uncompromising tough cop, whose exchange of dialogue in a scene with a cop in jail, has led to parallels being drawn with Sasikala’s case.
“Money goes deep down to the abyss and if you have money like filth, you can go for shopping even if put in jail,” says a dialogue between Rajinikanth and the cop in a prison, which he inspects.
The film has grossed over Rs 20 crore in Tamil Nadu alone on the opening day and would have continued to bring cheer to its makers had AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar not seen a reference to Sasikala in the dialogue and endorsed it wholeheartedly.
“The dialogue in which a police officer says that a prisoner can go out for shopping if he/she has money power is right. There is nothing wrong in it,” he said, adding, that a top Karnataka official had confirmed in his report that Sasikala was getting VIP treatment at the Parapana Agrahara prison in Bengaluru with CCTV footage showing her walking into the jail after going out for shopping.
Jayakumar’s statement invited a sharp response from Sasikala’s lawyer, Raja Senthoor Pandian, who said with the minister linking the dialogue to Sasikala, they were left with no other option but to drag the actor, director and the producers to the court.
“If the controversial dialogue is not guillotined we will take legal recourse. Initially, we felt that it was just a movie and (the issue) should not be raked up. With the minister’s open justification and dragging Sasikala, we are compelled to seek redress,” he says.
However, the damage has already been done. The dialogue has been picked up by many who have flooded social media with a variety of memes.
Bowing to the threat and eager to avert any possible trouble, Lyca Productions, which bankrolled the movie, said they were prepared to remove the controversial scene.
“The dialogue was not written with the intention of either identifying or hurting any individual. We are prepared to remove the same,” announced Lyca.
Meanwhile, a serving IAS officer has taken exception to Tamil filmmakers presenting IAS and IPS officers in poor light. Alex Paul Menon, a senior officer posted in Chhattisgarh, whose abduction by Maoists had hit the national headlines, took to Twitter to vent his ire.
“Tamil film directors, for heaven’s sake do not make films with IAS and IPS officers in the lead role. In your presentation devoid of any logic, we are crestfallen,” he said.