After Twitter erupted over the release of the motion poster of Muttiah Muralidharan’s biopic, 800, starring Vijay Sethupathi, veteran director Bharathiraja issued a statement asking the actor not to be part of the movie. The poster attracted criticisms from the Tamil community, with #ShameOn VijaySethupathi trending on Twitter.
— Bharathiraja (@offBharathiraja) October 15, 2020
Writing an open letter to Sethupathi, Bharathiraja asked him to avoid taking part in the film and ‘on behalf of the Tamil people living across the world’ wrote, “Do you want your face to be looked with hatred and forever be associated with a man who has betrayed the community?”
Bharathiraja also slammed the cricketer for remaining silent when the Eelam community died in Sri Lanka. He wrote, “When our children from Eelam died Muttiah played the fiddle. He completely supported Sri Lankan racism. No matter how much he may have achieved as a sportsman, what use are those when he laughed and enjoyed when his own people died? How many betrayals have our people overcome? According to us, Muttiah Muralitharan too is a traitor.”
Bharathiraja also addressed the statement issued by the producers, Dar Motion Pictures, who had written that the movie will not be making any political commentary and is purely a sports film. In response, Bharathiraja wrote, “To you Muttiah may be a great sportsman. To us he is the traitor of a community. Tamil people never forget traitors. One revolutionary’s loss cannot be compensated even if 100 Muttiahs come.”
The producers also added that the film will not belittle the struggles of Eelam Tamil community. They wrote, ”On a positive note, the film will engage the Tamil film community in Sri Lanka providing the artists and technicians a platform to showcase their talents on a global stage. Art is beyond boundaries; it unites people all across. Artists belong to the world. We wish to spread only positivity, love and hope.”
However, the veteran director asked the producers to make a movie on Tamil Eelam revolutionary leader Dileepan instead and added that if they were to do so, Tamil people in the film industry would be willing to even work for free.
The film has been facing flak ever since the motion poster released on Tuesday. The movie, directed by MS Sripathy, is about the life and struggles of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan before he rose to become the highest wicket-taker of all time. The film will be released in Tamil and dubbed in Hindi, Bengali and Sinhalese.