Chennai: Award-winning actor Vijay Sethupathi was at the receiving end of Tamil people’s fury as a hashtag, #ShameOnVijaySethupathi, trended on Twitter through Wednesday with people slamming him for agreeing to play the role of ace Sri Lankan bowler Muthiah Muralidaran in the upcoming biopic ‘800’ in Tamil.
Garnering 102 K Tweets by 6.00 pm, the hashtag trended since the day broke with supporters of the Eelam cause knocking him off the pedestal in which Tamil film industry had placed the actor with the title ‘Makkal Selvan’ by telling him ‘you are a sell out.’
Tweeple put out visual images to remind him of the horror the Tamil people faced from the Sri Lankan army and pointed out that Muthiah Muralidaran was an apologist of the Lankan establishment and never spoke up for the Tamil people, despite being a Tamil himself.
Reproducing an old interview of Muralidaran, in which he says ‘forget and forgive,’ a Twitter user said ‘This guy does not have a spine’ and told Sethupathi that he would regret acting in his film.
Reacting to a quote of Sethupathi that Muralidaran was a ‘very admirable and loveable’ person, another user said the Sri Lankan government had massacred 2 lakh Tamils in Eelam and that no other proof was needed for Sethupathi.
One of the main things that the Tamil people took objection to was Sethupathi wearing the Sri Lankan flag on his chest for the film, which is being produced by Movie Train Motion Picture and Dar Motion Pictures and directed by M S Sripathy.
Movie Train Motion Picture is a new company incorporated in Chennai only in December, 2019, and Dar Motion Pictures is a Mumbai based company run by Arun Rangachari and Vivek Rangachari, while Sripathy is seemingly a new face to Tamil cinema.
With a rumour floating around that there is a Sinhala hand behind the project with even names like Namil Rajapakse being bandied about, many activists and politician had been requesting Sethupathi not to associate himself with the film as Muralidaran, despite the fact that he married an Indian girl, is seen with suspicion.
But the actor had been quite upbeat about the film and even said, ‘I am delighted that Muralidaran himself will be closely involved with the project and guiding me on the cricket aspects,’ which suggested that Muralidaran was very much associated with the making of the film.
Even on other social media, the actor was slammed so much that lyricist Kavignar Thamari even said that she would try to persuade Sethupathi to give up the project and many other activists saw a deep conspiracy behind the making of the film itself.
On Twitter, however, there were some from outside Tamil Nadu who wondered why he should not act in a film and what is wrong in making a Tamil film on a Sri Lankan cricketer.