Tamil Nadu

Opposition stands with Mersal

Actor Vijay.  

The controversy surrounding actor Vijay’s Mersal, which features scenes critical of the GST and the Digital India initiatives of the Centre, has united the Opposition against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

On Saturday, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “Mr. Modi, cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don’t try to demonetise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal.

His party colleague and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram echoed the sentiment. In a tweet, he said, “Notice to film-makers: law is coming; you can only make documentaries praising government’s policies.”

In another tweet, he said, “The BJP demands deletion of dialogues in Mersal. Imagine the consequences if Parasakthi was released today.”

DMK working president M.K. Stalin also lashed out at the BJP leaders. He wrote, “The BJP’s attempt to muzzle criticism is contrary to democratic principles. The DMK always stands for freedom of speech and creative expression.”

Actor and aspiring politician Kamal Haasan said that criticism should be countered with criticism. “Mersal was certified. Don’t re-censor it. Counter criticism with logical response. Don’t silence critics. India will shine when it speaks,” he said.

The Tamil Film Producers Council said the demand to remove/change scenes in the film is undemocratic. “You can discuss and criticise the film but demanding that the producer remove scenes from the film is wrong. Political outfits and parties coercing film makers to remove certain scenes from the film though it has obtained CBFC clearance will set a wrong precedent,” it said.

The Nadigar Sangam said, “The CBFC is governed by the Central government. To further subject the film to censorship after the film is certified amounts to muzzling freedom of expression and speech. It would result in bigger problems in future.”

Meanwhile, in a late-night tweet, Hema Rukmani of Thenandal Studios Ltd., the producers of the film, said that no cuts or muting had been carried out in the movie.

Earlier, in the day, a statement from the producers said they were open to removing the objectionable scenes from the film.

“The film doesn’t propagate against the government. It is a film that speaks in support of free universal health care. The film’s crux is the dream of a doctor,” the statement said.

While the statement underlined that the producers had met several leaders of the BJP and explained their position, it added: “The BJP leaders’ opposition seems rational from their point of view. If some scenes create a wrong impression, we are open to removing them from the film.”

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2020 7:37:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/opposition-stands-with-mersal/article19900227.ece

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