Sarkar controversy: Makers concede to govt pressure; revised version of film to be screened from today

Sreedhar Pillai

November 09, 2018 12:48:47 IST

The battle between AIADMK and Vijay’s Sarkar film is currently the most hotly discussed political topic in Tamil Nadu. On Thursday, a cadre of AIADMK took to the streets vandalising posters and cutouts placed outside theatres screening the film. They was incensed over the depiction of their late leader Jayalalithaa and her welfare schemes in the film.

AR Murugadoss. Image from Twitter @KumaruVadai

AR Murugadoss. Image from Twitter @KumaruVadai

The Sarkar controversy now seems to have overshadowed the second year of demonetisation. Even as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu gears up to meet DMK strongman MK Stalin today (9 November) in Chennai in order to strengthen the mahagathbandhan, all eyes remain on Murugadoss' next move. Various Tamil Nadu government ministers have been making anti–Vijay statements. The bone of their contention is that their late leader former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her welfare scheme have been tarnished by Sarkar.

Amid the raging controversy, Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister Jayakumar asked: “Is Komalavalli the only name you could think of to name the villie (antagonist) of the film? Such films exist only because Amma (Jayalalithaa) is no more.” Shortly after the statement, social media and television channels were flooded with videos of Vijay’s appeal to the Jayalalithaa government during the Thalaivaa controversy.

The theatre owners in Tamil Nadu do not want to get into the crossfire between the state government and Vijay because they fear for their property. The famous Sathyam Cinemas had petrol bombs thrown at it at the time of Vijay’s Kaththi controversy. This time, Sathyam and many other screens have removed banners and cutouts which are usually kept outside the screens. VV Rajan Chellappa, the powerful AIADMK MLA from Madurai warned: “If these scenes aren’t removed, we will ensure that all theatres in TN are shut down.”

Fearing a backlash, Tiruppur Subramaniam of the powerful Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners Association said: “Whenever there have been skirmishes between actors and political parties in the state, it has been the cinema theatres playing the particular actors films have bore the brunt of the attack. It is not good for our business as theatres attract large number of families and they will keep away (if protests continue). In case of Sarkar, we have told Sun Pictures, the producers, who have agreed to remove the so-called objectionable scenes."

The scenes in question have been removed and the revised content will be screened in cinemas starting today at noon (9 November).

Meanwhile, Sarkar took a phenomenal opening collecting approximately Rs 102 crores in two days, worldwide. But on Thursday, the morning and afternoon shows showed a natural slump, as both were working days. But by evening, with the raging controversy fuelled further by the AIADMK party members and ministers, the collections picked up for the evening and night shows. In three days (6-8 November), the film has grossed a record Rs 6.03 crore. Abirami Ramanathan, the Chennai city distributor of Sarkar, said: “The film has taken one of the biggest ever opening for any film and most of the screens are sold out over the weekend.”

The controversies surrounding Sarkar have stirred up more curiosity around the film, and collections have picked up outside of Tamil Nadu too. It looks like the film will cross Rs 200 crore by the end of its first week worldwide, as the controversy surrounding it refuses to die down.

Updated Date: Nov 09, 2018 16:16 PM