New Delhi: A day after AR Murugadoss's 'Sarkar' starring actor Vijay faced a backlash from AIADMK over 'objectionable' scenes and apparent reference to late former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, prompting the makers to agree for the cuts, film producers Sun Pictures accused the ruling AIADMK members of resorting to violence and causing damage to property in theatres.
"The ruling state government has indulged in violence and damaged theatres for a few scenes of Sarkar film. We did remove one or two scenes for the sole purpose of safeguarding theatre and life of viewers only," a company statement said.
After several ministers objected to the reference to Jayalalithaa and some scenes, including the one showing mixers and grinders being burnt, AIADMK workers on Thursday protested in front of several theatres screening the film, released on Diwali on November 6. Several senior state ministers demanded deletion of the contentious scenes besides threatening to initiate legal action if the film crew failed to comply.
In a related legal development, the Madras High Court on Friday restrained the police from arresting director AR Murugadoss till November 27. Passing interim orders on the anticipatory bail application filed by Murugadoss, who apprehended arrest in connection with some complaints lodged against him, Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan directed him to co-operate with the police and adjourned the matter to November 27. Murugadoss's counsel informed the court that the objectionable portions had already been removed from the film.
The removal of the scenes prompted Information and Publicity Minister Kadambur C Raju to declare that the 'issue has come to an end' and that the AIADMK would not hold any more protests. "We believe they (Sarkar team) have realised that they have hurt people's sentiments and have come forward to remove the scenes... It is welcome. So the issue has come to an end. The protests (against the film) will not continue," he told reporters here.
Defending the protests, Raju said AIADMK workers 'ranging from an ordinary cadre to the Chief Minister (K Palaniswami),' consider Jayalalithaa as their 'God'. "We have nothing to do with the film or Vijay," Raju said describing the star as a "dear friend." He said the party's opposition had nothing to do with criticism of the government. A name said to be referring to Jayalalithaa was used for a negative character and therefore the opposition to it was "wholehearted" from the party workers, he added.
'Sarkar' had earlier courted a row after an aspiring filmmaker claimed that the film's story was his, following which director Murugadoss went in for a compromise with him.
Produced by Sun Pictures, the film stars Vijay and Keerthi Suresh in key roles with Oscar winner A R Rahman scoring the music. Vijay's 2017 film 'Mersal' too had run into a controversy after BJP objected to some scenes critical of GST among others.
(With PTI inputs)