On Monday, actor Vijay Sethupathi pulled out from legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan's biopic '800'. Sethupathi's decision came after the former spinner requested him to 'leave the project'.
According to Times of India, Muralitharan requested Sethupathi to drop out of the film because of the harsh criticism the actor faced ever since he signed the project.
Sethupathi took to Twitter to share Muralitharan's statement which read: "I am releasing this statement since there is a lot of controversy in Tamil Nadu around my biopic 800. I am aware of the flak Vijay Sethupathi has been receiving for signing my biopic."
"I don’t want one of the finest actors in Tamil Nadu to face any kind of trouble, hence I request him to drop out of the project," he added.
'800' has already become a controversial topic, mainly for political parties from Tamil Nadu who are urged Sethupathi, the actor portraying Muralitharan, to refuse the role.
The Sri Lankan spinner Muralitharan, a Tamil by birth has taken 800 test wickets and hence the movie is named as "800".
However, the opposition is due to Muralitharan's utterings which are in favour of the Sri Lanka's ruling regime.
The leader of Naam Tamilar, Katchi Seeman said Muralitharan supported the Sinhalese in the Lankan elections. And that is a problem because the Sri Lankan government, which is predominantly ruled by the Sinhalese, is known historically for oppressing the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Also, as the poster made rounds on social media, scores of netizens, especially fans of the Tamil actor, slammed the idea of Vijay essaying the role of a Sri Lankan and began trending the hashtag #ShameOnVijaySethupathi on Twitter.
Fans of the actor believe it is disgraceful for a Tamil actor to play the role of a Sinhalese cricketer.
Even the famous Tamil movie Director, Bharathiraja, termed Muralitharan as betrayer of Lankan Tamils and urged Sethupathi not to play the Lankan spinner in his biopic and decline the role.
Bharathiraja said when Tamils were being killed by the Sinhalese regime, Muralitharan supported that.
Coming back to the film, it will be shot in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia and India. The shoot is slated to start at the beginning of 2021 and is set to release at the end of next year.
It will be made primarily in Tamil language. 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.