'800' controversy: Vijay Sethupathi opts out of Muttiah Muralitharan's biopic

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Oct 19, 2020, 05.29 PM(IST)

Vijay Sethupathi and Muthiah Muralidaran Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Following the backlash, the makers of '800' released a statement clarifying that the film will be a sports biography and will be not showing any political angle. 

Actor Vijay Sethupathi walked out of Muthiah Muralitharan biopic '800' after the veteran cricketer requested the actor amid raging controversy. Several people raised objection to Muralitharan's past support to former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was at the helm during the prolonged civil war that had gripped the country for almost three decades.

The civil war had adversely affected the Malayaga Tamils, with Indian-lineage and hence raised objection to Tamil actor Sethupati's involvement with the project.

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Sethupathi tweeted Muralitharan's statement, and wrote, ''Thank you and goodbye''.

In his statement, legendary Sri Lankan cricketer requested the actor to step back in order to protect him from the backlash he has been receiving since the announcement of the film. The cricketer felt that working on the film could harm the actor's career. 

" I am issuing this statement as there has been controversy around my biopic '800'.I understand that Vijay Sethupathi is facing a lot of pressure and criticism from a few people since the announcement, and i do not want a celebrated actor like him facing trouble because of people who misunderstood me. I do not want him to face any problem in future. Hence, I am asking him to opt out of this biopic." the cricketer's statement read. 

Reffering to the Srilankan civil war, he said, he has always been misunderstood, "When the production house approached me for the film, I was first hesitating to give my nod. I then thought that the film would highlight the struggle of my parents, the contribution of my coaches and teachers and everyone who have been part of my journey. My family had its humble beginnings in a tea estate in Sri Lanka. The most affected in the civil war were the Hill Country Tamils. Our life began in a conflict zone. The film '800' talks about how I overcame all these hurdles and managed to succeed in cricket. Is it my fault that I was born a Sri Lankan Tamil? If I was born in India, I would have definitely tried to be part of the Indian team. Since I am part of the Sri Lankan team, I have always been misunderstood. An unnecessary controversy has erupted saying that I am against Tamils, thus giving the film, a political colour." 

Following the backlash, the makers released a statement clarifying that the film will be a sports biography and will be not showing any political angle. 

''It came to our notice that our film '800', the biopic of Muthiah Muralitharan featuring Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, is being politicized in many ways. However, we want to clarify that 800 is a purely a sports biographical film about the legendary cricketer Muthiah Muralidharan. The film is a journey about a man who hails from the Tamil migrant community, going on to become the highest wicket-taker of all time.''

The film is bankrolled by Dar Motion Pictures in association with Movie Train Motion Pictures.

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