Vishal tears into H. Raja; Kamal, Rajini bat for Mersal

Kamal Haasan with the Mersel team in Chennai.  

Actor Vishal, president of the Tamil Film Producers Council, on Sunday strongly criticised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary H. Raja for conceding that he had watched parts of actor Vijay’s latest release Mersal online.

Mr. Raja had told a Tamil private television channel that he had watched online a few scenes of the movie “which people said, had content which had hurt their sentiments.”

“A national leader of a national party has just confessed to watching a newly released film not in the theatre, but illegally. Being a leader who is known by the public, how can you support piracy without any shame?” he questioned in a strongly worded statement.

The actor, who is also the secretary of the Nadigar Sangam, has been vocal about the need to oppose piracy and has been urging everyone to take a strong stand against it.

“I, as a sincere citizen, a true workaholic and a man who thinks twice before doing anything, seriously wonder how a political leader like you can watch a pirated version which sets a bad example. Totally insensitive and uncalled for,” he said.

In his statement, he further said that Mr. Raja should come out with a public apology since piracy had been playing havoc on the fortunes of the industry and ruining the lives of thousands of people who are dependent on it for their livelihood.

Raja denies charge

In a tweet, veteran actor-director R. Parthiepan too condemned Mr. Raja.

Mr. Raja was among the BJP leaders, who had criticised the film for its dialogues mocking at the GST regime and the Digital India initiative of the Central government.

Reacting to the criticism, Mr. Raja said, “Those who watched the TV interview till the end would understand that I only saw portions of the movie, that too not from a CD.”

He added, “I did not buy any pirated CD; nor did I watch the entire movie. I only watched what was sent to me through WhatsApp, that too only a portion of the movie. I have not forwarded that to anyone but only watched what was sent to me. Though I am a movie lover, I don’t have the time to watch the entire movie.”

Shades of support

A host of political personalities and organisations, as well as members of the film fraternity, came out in support of the makers of the Vijay-starrer after the controversy over some scenes in the movie. Communist Part of India State secretary R. Mutharasan said in Salem on Sunday that scenes and dialogues criticising the governments have been part of Tamil films for long.

Alleging that the BJP was trying to strangulate the freedom of expression, he said the party would pay a heavy price for it.

‘Diverting attention’

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol Thirumavalavan said on Sunday that the ongoing controversy had been raked up to divert people’s attention from the outbreak of dengue.

The BJP was trying to support and encourage the movie indirectly under the guise of opposing and criticising it with an “ulterior political motive”, Mr. Thirumavalavan alleged while addressing the media at the airport in Tiruchi.

The BJP-RSS combine was keen on bringing under its fold film actors with political ambitions, he further claimed.

Many films in the past had strong dialogues bitterly criticising the State and the Central government’s policies, he said, citing the case of the award winning Tamil movie Joker, which was a full length political satire. Such movies were not disapproved of then.

The VCK leader said though he had not watched the movie, the dialogues in it did not besmirch the Centre’s image.

Actor Rajinikanth posted a tweet congratulating the Mersal team, saying that they had addressed an important topic.

Actor Kamal Haasan, on Sunday, attended a special screening of the show with the cast and crew of the film, including actor Vijay and the movie’s director, Atlee.

Mr. Haasan had earlier, tweeted stating that the movie shouldn’t be re-censored. “Don’t silence critics. India will shine when it speaks,” the actor had said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:28:42 PM |

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