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Vijay Sethupathi's exit from Muralitharan biopic: The controversy explained

Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi withdraws from Muttiah Muralitharan's biopic '800' after letter from the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer

800 Movie poster

800 Movie poster

BS Web TeamAgencies New Delhi
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Tamil fringe groups and some political parties demanded that actor Vijay Sethupathi excuse himself from the movie on Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan. They alleged that Muralitharan was a betrayer of the Tamil people and supported the then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the 2009 civil war

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Vijay's decision to play the lead role became a matter of heated debate in the social media. The ruling AIADMK had said the actor should reconsider his decision to be a part of the movie. Parties, including the MDMK, PMK and veteran Tamil filmmaker Bharathirajaa were among those who had urged the actor to disassociate from the biopic.

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While people such as Congress MP Karti P Chidambaram, actor-turned-politician and founder of All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi R Sarathkumar and his wife and actor Radhikaa Sarathkumar had voiced their support for Sethupathi, the Tamil movie world was largely silent. Even the South Indian Artists' Association, popularly known as Nadigar Sangam, the body representing the interests of actors, maintained a studied silence on the issue.

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He requested Sethupathi to opt out of his biopic '800' considering opposition. The actor has been under tremendous pressure from some quarters to withdraw from the biopic project, the iconic cricketer said in a statement. "I don't like an outstanding artist from Tamil Nadu to be affected because of me. I request him to step aside since he should not face unnecessary hurdles in his career in future," Muralitharan said.

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Tagging the cricketer's statement on his twitter handle, Sethupathi said, 'Nandri (Thanks)..Vankkam.' Asked on his 'thanks' tweet, the actor confirmed that it meant him opting out of the movie. "It's all over and that is the meaning," he told reporters.

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Muralitharan said obstacles were nothing new and he was not tired of it, adding all his achievements became a reality only after overcoming them. The legendary sportsman said he agreed to a biopic on him as it would give enthusiasm and determination to future generations in addition to young cricketers and such an initiative too has confronted impediments. The cricketer said he never supported the killings of innocent people and would never do that. He expressed anguish over him being accused as against the Tamils and asserted that it was for political reasons and out of ignorance.

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Dar Motion Pictures, the producers, has said '800' was only a sports biography movie and it does not make any political statement.

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First Published: Oct 20 2020 | 12:24 PM IST

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