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Mersal row: Actor Vijay accused of hurting Hindus; what's the controversy about?

Mersal is a Tamil movie directed by Atlee and co-written by Atlee and Vijayendra Prasad

Surbhi Gloria  |  New Delhi 

Mersal
Mersal movie poster | Photo: Twitter

starrer 'Mersal' has been in the news for a while now. First there was the row over the use of the title, then there was the one over the regulation of ticket prices and finally, once the movie released, its woes continued with the protest by the doctors, and the latest, by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit for its dialogues referring to The Goods and Services Tax and Digital India. However, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, senior party leader P Chidambaram, DMK working president M K Stalin, veteran star Kamal Haasan and a host of industry representatives have come out in support of the film crew on the issue.

is a Tamil movie directed by Atlee and co-written by Atlee and Vijayendra Prasad.

Top developments

1. On Monday, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court for a direction to revoke the censor certificate issued for 'Mersal'.

The petitioner, advocate A Ashvathaman, alleged that the film was full of "wrong propaganda about India and fake dialogues and scenes which obviously leads to misconception about the new taxation system of India and the Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 to the viewers."

"No picture shall be certified for public exhibition which will lower the moral standards of those who see it and the prevailing laws shall not be so ridiculed as to create sympathy for violation of such laws," he said.

2. Actor hurt 'Hindu sentiments'

A police complaint has been filed against Tamil actor for allegedly hurting 'Hindu sentiments' through

"A complaint has been received against actor An acknowledgement for receipt of the complaint has been issued. No first information report (FIR) had been lodged," a police official in Anna Nagar police station in Madurai said.

3. Rajinikanth to 'Mersal' team - Well done

Megastar Rajinikanth extended support to the team of controversial movie "Mersal" for addressing an "important topic".

"Important topic addressed... Well done!!! Congratulations team 'Mersal'," Rajinikanth tweeted late Sunday.

4. CBFC backs Mersal

The Producers Guild of India has lauded the censor board for backing controversial Tamil movie "Mersal" and urged authorities to ensure that a movie certified by the CBFC is allowed to be screened without disruption.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, President of the Producers Guild of India, said in a statement: "We applaud the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) for standing by the freedom of expression of the filmmakers of 'Mersal', and for permitting them to air contrarian opinions on current issues voiced by certain characters in their film.

"It is at such times, when we uphold the rights of our artistes to voice diverse opinions through their work, that we showcase the best of who we are as a country.

5. Ready for cuts, says producer

The film production house said that if needed, it would delete scenes that have caused "misunderstanding"

The producers also said that the BJP's opposition to some dialogues in Vijay-starrer "Mersal" was "just" from its own perspective.

Giving indication that a truce had been reached between the production house and the state BJP, the producers claimed that leaders have accepted their explanation.


6. Rahul Gandhi takes dig at Modi

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and party leader P Chidambaram attacked the over alleged attempts to muzzle criticism as leaders justified their attack on actor who did the lead role in the movie.

Several leaders of parties in Tamil Nadu, including DMK working president M.K. Stalin, joined the debate calling the demand for removal of some dialogues from the film as an attempt to stifle free speech.

Tamil Superstar Kamal Hassan and president of Film Producers Association Vishal also came out in support of

Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the demand for removal of dialogues critical of GST in the movie and asked him not to "demon-etise Tamil pride" by such interference.

"Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don't try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal," Gandhi said in a tweet.

7. fumes over  'misconceptions' about GST, note ban in Mersal

chief Tamilisai Soundararajan condemned the 'misconceptions' about central government's schemes and Hindu religion projected in Tamil movie and called for a removal of such representations.

"It's their right to project any view but we have to condemn the misconceptions about GST (Goods and Services Tax), demonetisation and digital transaction and also about Hindu sentiments," Soundararajan said, adding that such views misdirect the public.

The state president also stressed on the impact of celebrities' words on the general public.

8. actor is Christian so he hates PM Modi: BJP
 
H Raja, a secretary of the and leader posted a photo of actor Vijay's voter ID card and official letterhea. His purpose was to stress that the popular star is a Christian and his full name is C Joseph.

"Truth is bitter," tweeted Mr Raja, who has claimed that exposes Vijay's "hatred" for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "is a practising Christian. He should have said build hospitals before churches, instead he says build hospitals before temples. It is like provoking Hindus," the leader said, refusing to take into account the fact that Vijay's character in the film is a Hindu.

H Raja has been accused on Twitter of communalising the row and also for making public a person's personal details. Some critics accused the of double standards, posting photos of Prime Minister Modi with ahead of the 2016 assembly polls.

9. 'Mersal' release

"Mersal" released on October 18 in after the Madras High Court removed the stay on the use of the title. 

Prior to that an interim injunction was passed on the use of "Mersal" title following a case filed by producer A. Rajendran, who contended to have registered a similar title "Merrasalaitan" as well as "Naan Merrasalaitan" with the Tamil Film Producers Council in 2015.

10. 'Mersal' teaser clocked over 20 million views in 5 days

The teaser of Tamil superstar Vijay's film "Mersal" clocked over 20 million views in just five days to become the fastest Indian film to achieve this rare feat.

With over 20 million views, 8 lakh likes, the teaser was trending at second position on Youtube.

The controversy has extended beyond the State, and the Twitterati had some interesting things to say about it, as they invariably do. Here are some of the reactions:




First Published: Tue, October 24 2017. 11:40 IST
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