Row over Vijay Sethupathi playing Muttiah Muralitharan in 800

The recent announcement of the movie 800 based on Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan has created a controversy with political parties and others like Tamil movie director Bharathirajaa asking actor Sethupathi to refuse to play the lead role.

Celebs and political parties in Tamil Nadu are demanding actor Vijay Sethupathi to decline the opportunity to play lead role.

The Sri Lankan spinner Muralitharan a Tamil by birth has taken 800 test wickets and hence the movie is named as "800". He married a Chennai girl. The opposition is due to Muralitharan's uttering’s which are in favour of the Sri Lanka's ruling regime.

The founder of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) S. Ramadoss in a statement said Sethupathi will become part of Tamil Eelam history if he drops out of the movie or else will be seen as a betrayer.

Similarly MDMK General Secretary Vaiko has also asked Sethupathi not to accept the role.

The leader of Naam Tamilar Katchi Seeman while urging Sethupathi to drop the movie added that the "800" may be released in Colombo but not in Tamil Nadu.

Seeman said Muralitharan supported the Sinhalese in the Lankan elections.

Noted Tamil movie Director Bharathirajaa terming Muralitharan as betrayer of Lankan Tamils urged Sethupathi not to play the Lankan spinner in his biopic and decline the role. Bharathirajaa said when Tamils were being killed by the Sinhalese regime, Muralitharan supported that.

Many celebrities in Kollywood including Cheran, Thamarai and Seenu Ramasamy also requested Vijay Sethupathi to opt out.

Meanwhile, Radikaa Sarathkumar has spoken up in support of Vijay Sethupathi playing the role.

Even though the movie producers -- Dar Motion Pictures -- have said the biopic would focus on Muralithiran's cricketing life and achievements, it cannot avoid the internal strife and the upheavals the island nation witnessed during his early days and how the cricketer survived and came up, said a senior journalist, not wanting to be quoted, told IANS.

Sri Lanka is a democracy like India and regime changes has happened in last several decades through ballot boxes. The country is basically democracy oriented and hence there should be space to hear the views of others, the journalist added.

The shooting for the movie is expected to begin in March 2021. The movie would be shot in India, Sri Lanka, England, Australia and others.

Given Muralitharan's popularity as an international spinner, the producers are planning to dub the movie in Hindi, Bengali, Sinhalese and also have English sub-titles.

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