The Tamil version of the John Abraham-starrer Madras Café was cleared by the censors with no cuts on Thursday, but the film’s distributors found no takers among the exhibitors for a release in Tamil Nadu on Friday.

A representative of Viacom18, which co-produced the thriller along with Mr. Abraham, said the Tamil version got an ‘U/A’ certificate. However, none of the theatres in the State was willing to release the film in the wake of threats of protests from some Tamil nationalist groups.

Almost all major exhibitors had scheduled other films for the week ahead and opened advance booking for them, keeping ‘Madras Café’ out of the list. A cinema hall operator, on condition of anonymity, said the risk of screening the film was “simply not worth taking”.

Directed by Shoojith Sircar, the film is said to be set in the 1980s in the backdrop of the Tamil civil war in Sri Lanka and it features model-turned actor John Abraham in the role of a RAW agent. It also has scenes depicting the assassination of a former Indian Prime Minister and with several references to the leader of a prominent Tamil separatist group.

Tamil nationalist groups in the State have been objecting to the film saying that the references to LTTE and its slain leader V.Prabhakaran are hard to miss, and that the film denigrates the struggle of Tamils in Sri Lanka.