Actor Vijay Sethupathi who has been embroiled in a row ever since his announcement to portray Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in his upcoming biopic ‘800’, has withdrawn from the biopic after the cricketer requested him to do so.
Sethupathi’s Public Relations spokesperson confirmed the development.
Taking to Twitter, Sethupathi shared a note from Muralitharan with the caption ‘Thank you and goodbye’.
|The note read-
I am issuing this statement after controversy erupted by a few people in Tamil Nadu based on my biopic – 800.
I know that a few have been imposing pressure on actor Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw himself from the movie due to the wrong notions surrounding me. So, I don’t want a great artiste from Tamil Nadu suffering because of me. I don’t want any other unnecessary hurdles in his career and due to this I request him to withdraw himself from this movie.
Every time I face hurdles, I don’t get tired. I battle it out, win it and that is why I have reached this stage in my life. This movie will be an inspiration for future generations to come and for young cricketers and will give them encouragement and will power. It was the reason why I accepted the making of this biopic. I am sure that the creators of this movie will make it reach such people despite the hurdles. Producers have assured that further information regarding this will be announced soon. I will stand by their efforts.
Hashtags like #ShameOnVijaySethupati trended on Twitter after the ‘Super Deluxe’ actor made the announcement to play the cricketer in the film.
Fans online had been expressing their anger and dismay on the decision due to Muralitharan’s silence on the alleged atrocities meted out to the Tamil population of the island nation in the past by the Sri Lankan government.
The cricketer faced further flak on his ‘stance’ due to his Indian-origin Tamil heritage.
Muralitharan in his defence stated that he has never supported the killing of innocent people and that he gave his approval for 800 because the film documents his trials and tribulations and traces the journey of how he became a cricketer despite hailing from a minority community and amid the civil war backdrop.
The film will be made primarily in Tamil. However, owing to Muralitharan and Sethupathi’s popularity, the film will also be dubbed in all South Indian languages as well as Hindi, Bengali and Sinhalese. An international version with English subtitles is also being planned.
Muralitharan is the only cricketer to have taken 800 wickets in Test cricket. Besides, he also picked up 534 and 13 wickets respectively in 350 ODIs and 12 T20Is.