With just a week left for the release of Kaala, Karnataka film distributors and exhibitors association have decided not to screen Rajinikanth’s upcoming gangster film in theatres across the state to protest against the superstar’s stand on the Cauvery river water row with Tamil Nadu.
“In view of the public outrage over Rajinikanth’s recent remarks on the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board, distributors and exhibitors have decided not to screen any version his movie Kaala in any theatre in the state, and we welcome it,” said Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) President Sa Ra Govindu, reported The Economic Times.
What was Rajinikanth’s statement on the Cauvery water dispute? “The Karnataka government should implement Supreme Court orders on the Cauvery water as per the verdict. Technicalities of whether it is going to be an authority or a board should be avoided. The court has given a clear order,” he had said reported India Today.
He had also participated in a silent protest called by the Nadigar Sangam, which was joined by other Kollywood stars like Kamal Haasan, Vijay, Suriya and many more.
During the protests against the IPL matches in Chennai, Rajinikanth had said, “Playing IPL matches here (Chennai) when whole of Tamil Nadu is agitating for Cauvery (management board) will be an embarrassment. If the IPL games in the city cannot be banned, CSK players must at least wear black badges during the matches as a form of protest.”
However, this is not the first time that the superstar had been vocal about the Cauvery row. Back in October 2002, Rajinikanth was perhaps first forced to react over the Cauvery water dispute after director Bharatiraaja accused him of not raising his voice for Tamil Nadu – insinuating that Rajinikanth’s loyalties lay with Karnataka.
According to The Hindu, Rajinikanth in 2002 had vowed to “start a people’s movement on the Cauvery issue” but not to make a political statement. He had also offered Rs 1 crore towards the interlinking of Himalayan and peninsular rivers.
In February 2018, he had expressed disappointed on the Cauvery verdict and said that it would further affect the livelihood of Tamil Nadu farmers. In a tweet, he urged Tamil Nadu to go for a review petition.
காவிரி நீர் பங்கீட்டில் உச்சநீதிமன்றத்தின் இறுதி தீர்ப்பு தமிழக விவசாயிகளின் வாழ்வாதாரத்தை மேலும் பாதிப்பதாக உள்ளதால் மிகுந்த ஏமாற்றமளிக்கிறது.மறு பரிசீலனை மனு தாக்கல் செய்ய தமிழகஅரசு நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க வேண்டும்.
— Rajinikanth (@rajinikanth) February 16, 2018
After his recent statements on Cauvery, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, who was recently sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, had said, “If there is water in Karnataka it is possible for us to give them water. I request Rajinikanth, please come and see the situation in our dams, what has happened to our farmers. After seeing that, if you (Rajinikanth) still want water, let’s discuss.”
Many pro-Kannada organisations have also agreed to the decision taken by the KFCC to prevent the film’s release in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru, which has a quite number of Tamil people. These organisations are ready to boycott films of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan in the state ever since they began expressing their views on the Cauvery issue in favour of Tamil Nadu.
Activist Vatal Nagaraj, along with members of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, has decided to show support on the decision to stall the films of Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth in Karnataka. “Rajinikanth is an enemy of Karnataka and so is Kamala Haasan. The stand he has taken on the Cauvery issue has made them so. We will vehemently oppose the release of their films in Karnataka,” he said.
Rajinikanth, who has spent his initial years in Karnataka before entering Tamil cinema, has been accused of not being loyal to the Tamil cause. His detractors have often said he is a Kannadiga and not Tamizhan. Before announcing his plans of joining politics last year, he had said, “Even though I had come as a Maharashtrian or Kannadiga, you have all welcomed me and given me love, affection and money. You are the ones who have made me a Tamilian. Now, I am a Pachai Tamilan.”
On the boycott of Kaala, on Wednesday he said, “The Karnataka chamber is part of the South Indian Film Chamber (of Commerce). Definitely they will intervene and solve it amicably.”
Actor and president of Tamil Film Producers’ Council has offered his support.
Wat Rajini sir spoke bout Cauvery issue is called responsibility n freedom of https://t.co/LHXXpG78C3 cn they stop #kaala release n Karnataka in retaliation.i sincerely hope the Karnataka film chamber and fellow brothers resolve this issue.we all r Indians https://t.co/VdsL1fQOXw
— Vishal (@VishalKOfficial) May 30, 2018
Kaala, directed by Pa Ranjith and produced by actor Dhanush under Wunderbar Films, is set to release on June 7.