Tamil actor Sathyaraj who plays Kattappa in the Baahubali films has reportedly apologised for the anti-Karnataka comments he made 9 years ago during the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
In a video posted online on Friday, Sathyaraj has said that he apologises for the comments he made 9 years back but also added that he would continue to speak for the welfare of the Tamil people even if he did not get work in the film industry in the future.
Sathyaraj’s message comes after pro-Karnataka groups threatened to stop the release of Baahubali 2 on 28 April unless the actor apologised for his comments.
Watch Sathyaraj’s video message in Tamil below:
Sathyaraj’s statement said:
I have got to know that what I had spoken during the Cauvery water crisis has created a lot of tension among the people of Karnataka. I am not against Kannadigas or Karnataka.
The biggest example for this is that for the last 30 years, my assistant has been Shekar, who is a Kannadiga. I would like to apologise for the statement that I had made nine years back, and would like to say that I am a small worker in Baahubali film and my comment should not affect the film.
Nine years ago, during the Cauvery protests, Tamilians in Karnataka were targeted and there were protests asking for stalling the release of Tamil movies. During a meeting of the film industry to condemn this, many people spoke out with passion against the move. I was one among them. In retaliation, my effigies were burnt in Karnataka.
In the last nine years, I have acted in at least 30 movies including Baahubali, that have released in Karnataka. I have also been offered many Kannada films, which I couldn’t take up because of schedule issues.
People have watched that video from nine years ago on Youtube now, and they have been hurt by it. I apologise for the certain words I used for the people of Karnataka. I don’t want the consequences of my actions to affect the hard work of thousands of people. I also have a duty to protect those Kannadiga distributors who have bought the rights for the release of the film.
I will in the future continue to fight for issue of Tamils, be it Sri Lanka, Cauvery or farmers’ rights. I request those producers who think that their film will be affected by this to not approach a small actor like me anymore. You should not bear loss because me. Beyond an actor, I am a proud Tamil.
On Thursday, the director of Baahubali 2, SS Rajamouli had appealed to protestors in Karnataka to allow for the smooth release of his film in the state since Sathyaraj was neither the director no the producer of the film. However, the protestors were unwilling to budge from their stand of banning the release of Baahubali 2 in Karnataka till Sathyaraj himself apologised.