Vijay Sethupathi will star as Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralidharan in a biopic on his life, written and directed by MS Sripathy. News about the film was speculated last week and was confirmed by Sethupathi in a statement recently. Following this, there has reportedly been some opposition from Sri Lankan refugees who don’t want him to sign up for the film as the cricketer has spoken against them in the past.
The film will be launched in August or September after Sethupathi trains under Muttiah Muralidharan and also sheds weight for the character. He said in the statement, “I am happy to be associated with the biopic, he is an iconic sportsman of Tamil origin and someone who’s made his mark across the world. Portraying the role of Murali is going to be a challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”
He also added, “I’m delighted that Murali himself will be closely involved with the project and will guide me on the cricketing aspects. I am thankful to both Murali and the producers for their faith on me.”
Murali said in the statement that he has been part of the film’s team from the initial stages and supports the project. The film is produced by DAR Motion Pictures in association with another leading production house, which is yet to be announced.
According to a report by Filmibeat, Sri Lankan refugees from around the world have requested Sethupathi to not sign up for the film. Many even spoke to him over the phone to say that they admire and respect his work, and that he should consider dropping the film. They said they would boycott the film if he goes on to do it.
No public appeal has been made yet. Sethupathi has also not responded to the comments.
Muttiah Muralidharan is one of the highest ranked off-spin bowlers and wicket takers in test cricket. He is of Tamil origin and has been criticised by Sri Lankan Tamils on multiple occasions for speaking in support of the Rajapakse government and against their demand for boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket team until abuses against them are exposed.