Director SS Rajamouli, who is awaiting the release of his magnum opus, Baahubali 2, has spoken up about the ongoing protests by pro-Kannada groups against actor Sathyaraj. The groups have demanded an apology from the actor, who plays Kattappa in the film, for his comments supporting the Tamils during the Cauvery issue that happened in 2016. The groups have threatened to stall the release of the movie in Karnataka if he doesn’t apologise.
The director, speaking to a TV channel, said that targeting Baahubali 2 is not “right.” “It is a sad thing and we were shocked to see that on social media. I worked with Sathyaraj for almost five years and I could have never ever imagined he is a person who could try to hurt someone. Some videos were posted on the Internet. When we started inquiring, we learned that whatever comments Mr Sathyaraj made, it was nine years back. And after that, about 30 films of his were released in Karnataka. Baahubali 1 released. No one had problems with that. And suddenly, raking up the issue at this point in time is not right,” he said.
He also added that Sathyaraj would not be affected if the release of the movie is stalled. “He is not the director of the film. He is not the writer or producer or the hero. He is just a supporting actor. He acted in the film and took his remuneration and went away. So whatever people do against Baahubali 2 will not affect him in any manner. It is sad. I think people will understand the issue and it will be resolved,” he said.
As per various reports, no distributor or exhibitor has bought the theatrical rights of the sequel, which is pegged at Rs 40 crore. They fear an imminent backlash from pro-Kannada groups. Veteran Kannada activist, Vatal Nagaraj, has vowed to stop the screening of the movie across the state.
Speaking to the media, he said: “We will not allow any theatre in Karnataka to screen Baahubali. We are not against the film, but against Sathyaraj who plays the character of Kattappa in Baahubali. This man’s remarks crossed all decency limits. He spoke nonsense about Karnataka and Kannadigas. We too staged protests against Tamil Nadu, but not against the people.”