Protests intensify against Vijay Sethupathi

The motion poster and first look of Vijay Sethupathi as cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan from the upcoming biopic 800, has generated social media furore. The film will be directed by M.S. Sripathy.

The Kollywood actor and Sri Lankan cricketing legend also got together on a virtual chat to discuss the movie recently, during the ongoing IPL telecast, before the first look was revealed.

Moments after the motion poster of the film was unveiled, ‘Shame on Vijay Sethupathi’ trend caught on in a big way on Twitter. Netizens were displeased with Vijay Sethupathi for backing a film on Muralitharan, who has had a controversial stand over the decades-long civil war between the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), that sought a separate state for the Tamils in the Sinhalese-majority country.

Netizens brought out the 48-year-old’s statement allegedly denying the ‘genocide’ of Tamils in the clashes that ended with the government’s victory in 2009, Muralitharan had then got flak for his statement and for expressing his support to the ruling Rajapaksa family.  Some expressed anger about a Tamil actor wearing the Sri Lankan flag on his jersey.

Netizens used the hashtag #ShameOnVijaySethupati to convey their anger and disappointment.

“Always admired Vijay Sethupathi as an actor. But now he shattered respect I had on him now by making this traitor’s life history who openly supported modern day dictator Rajapaksa. Murali himself said 2009 was his happiest year of his life #ShameOnVijaySethupati,” wrote one user on Twitter.

Many pointed out that the Sri Lankan government was responsible for killing thousands of Tamils and treating them as minorities in the country. Director Seenu Ramasamy, too, requested Vijay Sethupathi to reconsider his decision of doing the film.

In a press statement, Muttiah Muralitharan said, “Once the script was ready, we thought the best fit for this movie is non-other than Vijay Sethupathi. I think he is a very talented actor and he will nail the bowling expressions. I trust Vijay completely as he is one of the greatest actors and I have complete faith that he’ll definitely do wonders for the film.”