Baahubali 2's Karnataka release cleared as anti-Sathyaraj protests called off after actor's apology
With just a week to go for its release, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion's release in Karnataka suddenly seemed uncertain.
Pro-Kannada groups had declared a bandh on 28 April 2017 — the day on which the film releases — to protest against anti-Karnataka comments allegedly made by cast member Sathyaraj over nine years ago, during the Cauvery crisis. Sathyaraj, who hails from Tamil Nadu, plays the role of the villain Kattappa in SS Rajamouli's epic.
Since Baahubali: The Beginning had been released in Karnataka without any issues — as have several of Sathyaraj's other films — it was felt that a trade dispute may have contributed to the attempts to derail Baahubali 2's release.
As Sreedhar Pillai noted in a previous report for Firstpost:
A few months ago, Baahubali 2 became the hottest film in the Karnataka trade, and many tried to procure it. But the producers of the film could not get the price that they were asking. This led to a lot of jealousy and rivalry in the local trade, which may have led to raking up a 10-year old issue, which nobody imagined. Now the film is going to be directly marketed in Karnataka by Arka Media, the producers, via NM Entertainment Sudhir. Meanwhile hectic parleys are going on to sort out the issue over the ban, which has snowballed into a political row.
You can read the full report here.
SS Rajamouli had released a video titled 'An appeal to all Kannada friends' pointing out that the contentious remarks ascribed to Sathyaraj had been made nine years ago, and that they had nothing to do with Baahubali 2.
Meanwhile, Sathyaraj too issued a public apology, stating:
"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 Nadu, I apologise if I hurt anyone's feelings."
Now, the protest against the film has been called off.
“We accept the regret expressed by Sathyaraj and have decided to drop our protests. We have also withdrawn the call for Bengaluru bandh on 28 April,” Vatal Nagaraj, who was spearheading Kannada Okoota, an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies, was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
The Times of India reported that Nagaraj also said, "Our dissent was not against the movie Baahubali, but against Sathyaraj, who had made derogatory comments about Kannadigas and Karnataka leaders."
With this, the decks have been cleared for the release of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion in Karnataka.