The support for jallikattu has intensified. The scenes from Marina Beach in Chennai since Tuesday, where protesters stayed overnight in a peaceful demonstration of their disagreement with the ban, is testimony to that.
Kollywood has been in the thick of the action with directors Ameer and Gowthaman, and actors like Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Silambarasan, GV Prakash, Suriya and now Vijay adding their voices to the call to lift the ban.
On Tuesday night, Vijay whose Bairavaa opened to mixed reviews in the Pongal weekend, tweeted his support for the sport through a short video message.
Using the hashtag #JusticeforJallikattu, the actor said, "World-over, laws were created to protect people's culture and rights, not to take these away from them. Jallikattu is the identity of the Tamilian. My salute to the youth who have jumped into this issue without expecting anything, without anyone's instigation, and without any political interests, and only for the sake of Tamil sensibilities. I will be happy if those who have been arrested because of this issue are released. I will be happy if the organisation which is behind this is sent out of Tamil Nadu."
Interestingly, Vijay stressed "PETA" every time he said "anupeeta" (send out), making his point amply clear.
Nayanthara, who is hailed as Lady Superstar, has issued a press statement supporting jallikattu. Appreciating young people for joining in the protest, she said this was "unprecedented history."
Vishal deactivated his Twitter account after facing abuse online. An old video in which he says he cannot comment on jallikattu because of the Supreme Court ban was being circulated. On Wednesday, Vishal issued a press statement calling the video "misleading" and said that this was propaganda by "online miscreants". An excerpt from his statement:
My association with animal welfare goes long way but the reason I support ‘Jallikattu’ is something more personal. I have spent most of my film career shooting in Madurai. The people of Madurai have always taken good care of me and made me feel at home and this was the main reason I preferred more of Madurai based subjects in my movies. During such visits I myself have seen the way the ‘Bulls’ being taken care with lot of love and affection. Though I was born and brought up in Chennai, I felt more affiliated to Madurai in movies, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart.
He has further said, "I humbly request you to understand I did not and will never raise my voice against ‘Jallikattu’. " Vishal has praised the youth who have turned up for the protests, calling them as "true heroes".
Vishal has also written a letter to PM Modi, appealing to him to pass an ordinance permitting jallikattu. In the letter, Vishal speaks of his association with animal rights in the past but says that jallikattu does not involve animal cruelty but is about preserving "native cattle". He has added that the ban goes against the Constitutional rights of the Tamil people and has requested the PM to listen to the voice of the youth.
Previously, Suriya, whose S3 will be released on January 26, had expressed his support for the cause. On Tuesday night, he too tweeted with the same hashtag as Vijay and shared a report about the protests happening in Alanganallur.
Certain photographs of Dhanush wearing a PETA T-shirt had been doing the rounds on social media. His fans claimed that these were photoshopped. The actor has since clarified his stance on jallikattu and has been tweeting his support for the sport, stating that this was about Tamil culture.
He also retweeted Vijay's video.
Sivakarthikeyan, who is among the fastest rising stars of Kollywood, is also a jallikattu supporter. He has tweeted that he's among the crores of Tamil people who wish to rescue jallikattu which is their culture and tradition.
Actor Trisha, who has been accused of supporting the ban and faced vitriolic abuse online, has deactivated her accounts.
Ajith, one of the biggest names in Kollywood, has chosen to remain silent about the issue so far. Perhaps because he isn't on social media.