Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi has pulled himself out of the biopic on Sri Lankan cricket legend Muttiah Murlitharan after the movie ran into an ugly controversy. Sethupathi took the decision after Murlitharan himself asked him to do so, keeping in mind the controversy which erupted after the poster launch of the movie, titled ‘800.’
As soon as the poster launched, several Dravidian groups in Tamil Nadu began protesting against a Tamil actor in Sethupathi playing Murlitharan, alleging that the cricketer had made comments which were perceived to be in support of the war waged by Sri Lankan forces against LTTE. It may be noted that Murlitharan himself is a Tamil.
The overwhelming opposition faced by Vijay Sethupathi prompted a clarification from Muralitharan who said that his statements made in the past about the civil war that ended in 2009 were taken out of context. He had said, “I did not support the killings of innocent people and I would not do it.”
However, as the opposition to the movie appeared to be growing intense with every passing day, Murlitharan himself in a letter asked Vijay to step down, saying that “he doesn’t want to be reason to derail the career of a great artist” like him.
“He should not suffer any unnecessary obstacles in his career as an artist in future. Therefore, I request him to move away,” he said.
Makers of the movie have confirmed that Sethupathi has stepped aside. Though, Murlitharan, doesn’t appear to be giving up just yet. Muralitharan said that he has never felt “fatigued because of setbacks and has always won against all odds to reach where I have today.”
He further expressed his desire to see the movie made, and clarified that he is still with the project. “I consented for my biopic to be made because it would provide inspiration and confidence to future generations and young cricketers. But there have been many obstacles. I hope that this film would be made despite these obstacles. I have been given assurances by the production house that they would make an announcement soon and I will stand by them for all their efforts,” he said.