‘800’, the biopic of Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who belongs to Tamil migrant community turned into the eye of controversy with Kollywood star Vijay Sethupathi roped in as the main lead. The film’s first look poster titled was all over social media and media for an odd reason while the ’96’ star was demanded to take back from the film.
Many have lashed out on the makers and the actor for choosing a cricketer who played for the country which has oppressed Tamils. While a few recalled that the cricketer never spoke out against the alleged atrocities on the Sri Lankan Tamil population in the past.
Besides the producers stepping in with a clarification that 800 is purely a sports biographical film about the legendary cricketer, Muttiah Muralitharan himself came up appealing Vijay to withdraw from the project.
“There is massive pressure on Vijay Sethupathi to pull out from this movie. An outstanding actor in Tamil Nadu should not be affected because of me. Not just this, I also wish that there are no hurdles before Vijay Sethupathi in the future. I hence request Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw from the project,” read his statement.
Minuted after which, Vijay Sethupathi in a tweet posted “Nandri, vanakkam(Thank you and goodbye)”- signalling the end of his engagement with the movie. He later clarified that he was out of the venture. ‘800’ is touted to be a moving portrayal of Muralitharan, one of cricket’s most brilliant and divisive characters.
However, the first announcement welcomed sharp criticism as Muralitharan is seen as a supporter of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was at the helm during almost 30 years of civil war that gripped the island nation.