Chennai: The students wing of the PMK and Vanniyar Sangam have reportedly threatened movie theatre owners in northern districts against the exhibiting the latest Tamil film, ‘Etharkum Thunindhavan’ (The Daring Guy), featuring actor Suriya in the lead role, triggering another controversy on the eve of the movie’s release, scheduled for Thursday.
With the theatre owners wringing their hands in despair fearing violence after the PMK students wing secretary Vijayvarman and also some Vanniyar Sangam leaders wrote to their union, warning them of dire consequences if they dared to exhibit the film, produced by Sun Pictures, police have increased security for Suirya at his residence.
In November last year, too, security was provided to the actor and his family after PMK’s youth wing secretary Anbumani Ramadoss raised a storm over some objectionable scenes in Suriya’s earlier blockbuster, ‘Jai Bhim’ that was released on an OTT platform. Anbumani Ramadoss had demanded an apology from the actor, who refused to oblige.
Anbumani Ramadoss alleged that ‘Jai Bhim’ showed the Vanniyar community in bad light, leading to the filmmakers removing those objectionable scenes. But with Anbumani Ramadoss insisting on an apology and Suriya too, digging in his heels, a threat was issued that no films of the actor would be allowed to be screened in theatres in the Vanniyar belt.
Since the latest threat is a continuation of that episode, theatre owners are highly concerned mainly because the PMK workers have a track record of vandalizing theatres in the past whenever their leaders spoke against particular films and actors.
In 2004, actor Vijaykanth, who had not exactly donned the politician’s hat at that point of time, had trouble with releasing his film, ‘Gajendra.’ PMK cadre were out to stop the film’s release because PMK founder, S Ramadoss, took on the actor for criticizing politicians in general and Ramadoss in particular in a meeting and in an interview to a magazine.
Earlier, it was Rajinikanth who bore the brunt of PMK cadre’s anger in 2002. Peeved over the visuals for the film, ‘Baba,’ showing the hero smoking and posing with a beedi, Ramadoss, whose views on smoking and drinking are well known, hit out at him for ‘spoiling the youth.’
Taking the cue from what Ramadoss said, PMK cadre went on a rampage in the Vanniyar pockets, preventing theatres from screening the film. In one case they even took away the film reels from the projector room and set them on fire – it is a different matter that it might not be possible now given the advent of digital technology in film screening.
With memories of those violent scenes fresh in their minds, theatre owners are apprehensive of exhibiting ‘Etharkum Thunindhavan,’ prompting Tamil Nadu Progress Writers and Artistes Association (TNPWAA), the literary and art wing of the CPM, to call all those who believed in freedom of expression to raise their voice against the PMK.
In a statement, TNPWAA demanded action against those who create panic in the State by issuing threats to people and wanted the authorities to create a conducive situation for the release of the film.