Not deterred with the heavy crackdown during the Cauvery water sharing issue, sidelined pro-Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj is now up in the arms against the film Bahubali 2, set for relase on April 28.
The issue is some remarks on Kannadigas by Sathyaraj, who dons the role of much-popular Kattappa, without whom Bahubali 2 could not have revived the frenzy for the sequel to “Bahubali, the Beginning”.
Vatal Nagaraj told media on Thursday:“Our dissent is not against the movie Bahubali but against Sathyaraj who had made derogatory comments on Kannadigas. We want him to apologise to the people of Karnataka and only then will we allow the screening.”
Questioning the rationale, Bahubali 2 director SS Rajamouli said Sathyaraj had made those comments nine years ago and never was it an issue. More than 30 films of him were released in Karnataka but the pro-Kannada activist remained silent.
“Linking his old remarks made several years ago with the current scenario and posing an obstacle to the release of movie is not in the interest of the industry,” Rajamouli said. He said he had spoken to veteran Kannada actor Ambareesh, who heads the Kannada Cine Artistes Association.
Giving details of their protest, Vatal Nagaraj said they would take out a protest march from Town Hall to Freedom Park and sought the entire city to observe bandh in solidarity with the cause. Whether his protest makes any mark is quite expected, it is amusing that 9-year-old remarks have surfaced again connected with an entirely unconnected issue.
The ire is also evident against Tamil films and some members of pro-Kannada fronts have announced a protest in front of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce seeking a ban on all Tamil films in Karnataka until Sathyaraj tenders an apology.
More than protests, the real issue is that Bahubali 2 is being released directly in theatres without going through distributors in the state, which could be a loss of crores of rupees for them. In turn, distributors are asking theatres not to show the film.
Meanwhile, Bahubali producers have cancelled the publicity meet organised in Bengaluru on Thursday citing unavailability of their spokesperson, who is busy speaking to the representatives of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce to resolve the issue.