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Vanniyar Sangam Demands Rs 5 Cr From 'Jai Bhim' Makers; PMK Stops Screening

Jai Bhim makers have been asked to tender an unconditional apology and remove scenes which they dubbed defamatory.

Updated
Indian Cinema
2 min read
Vanniyar Sangam Demands Rs 5 Cr From 'Jai Bhim' Makers; PMK Stops Screening
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On Monday, 15 November, the Vanniyar Sangam state president issued a legal notice to actor Suriya and TJ Gnanavel, the director of Jai Bhim, demanding that the makers of the film tender an unconditional apology and remove scenes which they dubbed defamatory.

The legal notice also asked those behind the film to “cease and desist from making or publishing any false, malicious and defamatory remarks against (the Vanniyar) community and its people.” The notice also sought damages in Rs 5 crore.

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What The Notice Says

The legal notice alleges that though the incidents represented in the movie are based on real life events, the character of the policeman who tortures Rajakannu has been deliberately depicted as belonging to the Vanniyar caste. “Our client states that you have retained the real names of the real characters in the real incident in the movie … But deliberately you have changed the name of the sub-inspector. In the real story, the sub-inspector who is involved in the custodial death of the under trial was called Anthonysamy, who was Christian by religion.”

It further alleges that the filmmakers had deliberately placed a calendar with the “agni kudam” symbol associated with Vanniyar Sangam in the scene, in order to depict the said sub-inspector as Vanniyar. The notice claims that this was done with the “malafide intention of defaming the members of the Vanniyar Sangam and damaging the image and reputation of the entire Vanniyar community.”

PMK Cadre Stop Screening of Film

The stand-off between the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and actor Suriya over the issue of Jai Bhim allegedly insulting the Vanniyar community escalated on 14 November, when a group of PMK cadres forced a theatre in Mayiladuthurai district in Tamil Nadu to stop screening a Suriya film. Sources said that a group of PMK cadres raised slogans outside the Peerless theatre on Park Avenue Road that was screening Vel, a Suriya film. According to reports, they even stormed into the theatre manager’s room, following which the management pulled out the film that was being screened.

The group, led by PMK's Mayiladuthurai district secretary Panneerselvam, also submitted a petition to Mayiladuthurai Superintendent of Police, demanding action against Suriya. Speaking to reporters, Pannerselvam, who said that the PMK would not allow any Suriya film to be screened in Mayiladuthurai, went on to announce a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anybody who assaults the actor when he visits the district.

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Suriya's Response

Days ago, a war of words had erupted between PMK chief Anbumani Ramadoss, who wrote a letter to Suriya, levelling allegations and demanding answers. Suriya had on Thursday responded, denying allegations and replying to all the questions asked.

"Neither my team, nor I have ever harboured any intention at any point in time to insult any individual or community as mentioned by you in your letter. I hope you are aware that corrections were carried out as soon as some people pointed out mistakes," Suriya said in his response.

Pa Ranjith, Others Extend Support to Suriya

Filmmaker Pa Ranjith took to Twitter to extend support to Suriya after the incident. The hashtag, #WeStandWithSuriya has also been trending, with fans lending their support to the actor.

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