The Tamil Nadu Muslim League (TNML) has written to the state government demanding a ban on the release of Vijay-starrer Beast, alleging that the film shows Muslims in a poor light.
The statement, addressed to SK Prabakar, the Additional Chief Secretary to Government of the Home, Prohibition and Excise Department, by VMS Mustafa, the president of TNML, pointed to the recent ban of Beast in Kuwait and said the reason for this was the depiction of Muslims as terrorists in the film.
Beast is directed by Nelson Dilipkumar and produced by Sun Pictures. It stars Pooja Hegde opposite Vijay and is scheduled to hit theatres on April 13.
The statement from TNML’s president said, “It has been a growing trend in Tamil cinema to portray Muslims as terrorists, thus creating an image that Muslims are extremists. When films portray certain characters with caste identities or make references to caste leaders, social organisations condemn it. Meanwhile, films constantly portray Muslims as people associated with guns and bombs, and this is worrisome.”
Mustafa further noted that during the 2015 floods, practitioners of Islam actively participated in relief work, and during the Covid-19 pandemic too, several Islamic organisations came forward to help when people were hesitant to bury the bodies of the dead. “Despite this state of affairs, it has come to our attention that Beast shows Muslims as terrorists. The film is releasing on April 13, in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims are fasting. At this juncture, the film’s release will create a difficult situation among Muslims, and keeping that in mind, we are appealing to you to ban the film,” the statement concluded.
Neither the makers of Beast nor the Tamil Nadu government has addressed the issue as yet.
It is to be noted that this is not the first time Muslim organisations have taken exception to a film on the basis of religion.
Previously, when Silambarasan TR-starrer Maanaadu was released, the minority wing of the BJP party had accused the film of attempting to instigate communal violence. In the film, Silambarasan plays Abdul Khaliq, a Muslim man who finds himself trapped in a time loop, which gives him an opportunity to change the events surrounding a political convention and prevent an orchestrated Hindu-Muslim riot.