When director AR Murugadoss was asked to issue an unconditional apology by the Madras High Court for criticising the welfare schemes of the Tamil Nadu Government in his film Sarkar, he refused to apologize, saying it was his freedom of expression.
The film featured scenes in which people threw and burned grinders, mixies, and television sets, items that were given as freebies by the Government. The scenes were a reference to the ruling party, AIADMK’s flagship scheme through which they distributed household items to the people of Tamil Nadu, following their electoral victory in 2011.
It proved to be controversial, and members of AIADMK targeted theatres screening the film. Posters of the film were torn by party supporters, who asked for removal of the scenes from the film. After frantic negotiations, the scenes were removed. But a case was filed against Murugadoss.
The director then applied for anticipatory bail, and it was promptly granted by the Madras HC, till November 27. The case came up for hearing on Tuesday. In court, the State Prosecutor asked Murugadoss for a written undertaking stating that he will not criticise the State government’s policies in his films. The prosecutor also asked for an unconditional apology from Murugadoss.
However, a spokesperson to the director said there would be no apology as no offence had been committed. He also said Murugadoss was not willing to give an undertaking that he would refrain from criticising the State’s policies.
Meanwhile, Jeyamohan, who co-wrote the dialogues for the film, and has been criticised a lot, wrote a post on his page. He commented on the concept of freebies, and said, “Cinema reflects what people do. Scenes against freebies in the film were not something specially thought by the director, but it was already there. In all the protests by people, they have raised the slogan saying that don’t need freebies but need their rights. Similar protests denying freebies also happened during the protest by farmers, protest against TASMACs, and so on.”
In his post he also made two things clear about the name ‘Sundar Ramaswamy’ and the ‘political ideology’ in the film.
He wrote, “I did not have any part in naming the lead as ‘Sundar Ramaswamy’. In fact the name which I used in the script was something else. Moreover, in all the films I write, the lead’s name is not the one which I write in the script. My names are just temporary ones. AR Murugadoss wanted the lead to be named as ‘Ramaswamy’ as he had some sentimental attachment towards the name. After a point of time, Murugadoss wanted the title of the film to be named Ramaswamy, but later he changed.”
While talking about the political ideology in the film, he said that it is based on actor Vijay’s political dreams. He wrote, “I have already told people about my idea on politics and it is open to anyone to read. Similarly, AR Murugadoss’ ideologies are different and he is strong in his ideologies. His thoughts are similar to Seeman’s Namm Tamizhar Party and no one can influence his ideas. But the film is based on Vijay’s political dreams and has been made accordingly.”
Sarkar and Murugadoss have been in trouble created by the politicians since June, even before the film’s release. When the film’s first look was released, it created a smoke which refused to be blown away for a long time. Former Union health minister and PMK leader Dr. Anbumani Ramadoss slammed Vijay and Murugadoss for promoting smoking. Ramadoss even pulled out the actor’s old interview where he had claimed that he would not feature in any smoking scenes. But the actor did not react to this. It then faced many PIL’s in Madras High Court by social activists.
Even after all this, the actor, who was the most active person during the promotions of the film, has chosen to continue to remain quiet. He has neither commented on the issue nor come in defense of the director. Despite the pressure from the ruling party, he remains silent like he had said during the audio launch of the film, “Usupethuravan kitta ummunum, Kadupethuravan kitta kammunum irundha vaazhakka Jammu nu irukkum (Stay away from those who provoke you, and life will be good).”