Baahubali 2 actor Sathyaraj: 'I would like to apologise for statement made 9 years back'
Sticking to their guns, pro- Kannada outfits have threatened that they will not allow film Baahubali 2: The Conclusion to release under "any circumstances" unless actor Sathyaraj tendered unconditional apology for his "anti-Kannadiga" remarks.
However, the actor appeared on TV news channels on 21 April, Friday, and apologised for his remarks. Dressed in black, he read out his comments from a piece of paper in a recorded video.
He said, "I will be more careful in the future. My remarks should not affect the film. I made them 9 years ago during the Cauvery conflict. While I will continue to speak out for all issues related to Tamil Naude, I apologise if I hurt anyone's feelings."
— News18 (@CNNnews18) April 21, 2017
However, India Today TV reports that the protests are continuing despite his apology, and the anti-Baahubali stir is still on in Bengaluru. This could be given Sathyaraj has also commented saying he will continue to fight for the right of Tamil people.
Also read Sreedhar Pillai's analysis of the origins of this controversy — Baahubali 2's Karnataka release in jeopardy; did trade disagreement snowball into political row?
'Kannada Okoota', an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies, had announced 'Bengaluru Bandh' on April 28, the date of release of the most anticipated Indian movie of the year, to protest the remarks of Sathyaraj, who plays the key character of 'Katappa' in the epic fantasy.
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"The remarks made by Sathyaraj against Kannadigas during the Cauvery row (a few years ago) had crossed limits of decency. We will not allow the film to be released under any circumstances," Vatal Nagaraj, who heads Kannada Okoota, said.
Kannada activists would stop the release in every district, Nagaraj, also the leader of Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, a Kannada outfit, said. "There is no scope for the release unless and until Sathyaraj tenders an unconditional apology," he said, adding, "The exhibitors will have to bear the consequences if they venture to screen the film."
The organisations were not against the film as such, but opposed to Sathyaraj's remarks, he said.
Nagaraj said Kannada activists would stage a protest march on April 28 in Bengaluru and have sought the support of Kannada litterateurs for it.
Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President and Kannada activist Sa Ra Govindu said Sathyaraj had hurt the "self- respect" of Kannadigas and there was no going back on stalling the release of the film till he apologised for making "provocative anti-Kannadiga remarks."
Karnataka Rakshna Vedike President Pravinkumar Shetty said the release would not be allowed to take place anywhere in Karnataka, as it involved "self-respect" of Kannadigas.
Meanwhile, SS Rajamouli in a television interview to India Today when asked about the controversy, had said: “I (have) worked with Sathyaraj for almost five years and I could have never ever imagined he is a person who could hurt someone. Some videos were posted on the internet. When we started inquiring, we learned that whatever comments Sathyaraj made... this was nine years ago. And after that, about 30 films of his were released in Karnataka. Baahubali 1 released there as well. No one had problems with that. And suddenly, raking up the issue at this point in time is not right. He (Sathyaraj) is not the director of the film. He is not the writer or producer or the hero. He is just a supporting actor. He acted in the film and took his remuneration and went away. So whatever people do against Baahubali 2 will not affect him in any manner. It is sad. I think people will understand the issue and it will be resolved.”
#EXCLUSIVE "What is happening between Sathyaraj & K'taka is a sensitive issue; we are no way connected with it," @ssrajamouli to CNN-News18 pic.twitter.com/mZuvjUC64V — News18 (@CNNnews18) April 21, 2017
(With inputs from PTI)