Actor Radikaa Sarathkumar has spoken up in support of her colleague Vijay Sethupathi, who has been at the receiving end for accepting to essay the role of Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in an upcoming biopic titled 800. The actor also pointed out that Muralitharan was currently the head coach of an Indian Premier League team that belongs to a Tamilian with political affiliations, and asked why no questions were being raised regarding this.
The biopic has been facing sharp criticism on social media since its announcement. Critics allege that Muralitharan is a supporter of the Rajapaksa government which has been accused of human rights violations and genocide of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The cricketer had even campaigned in favour of Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was the Defence Secretary when the LTTE was dismantled and most of its leaders killed. Many people, including Tamil sympathisers, have asked the filmmakers to also include the cricketer's political beliefs as part of the film. But groups like the Naam Tamilar Katchi have asked the actor to refuse the role itself. Director Bharathiraja too has asked Vijay Sethupathi to reconsider essaying this role.
However, in a strongly worded tweet on Friday, actor Radikaa said that an actor cannot be curbed.
#muthaiyamuralitharan biopic &asking @VijaySethuOffl not to act do these people hav no work??why not ask @SunRisers why he is the head coach, team belongs to a Tamilian with political affiliations?VSP is an actor, and do not curb an actor. VSP&cricket both donâ€™t warrant nonsenseâ€” Radikaa Sarathkumar (@realradikaa) October 16, 2020
Radikaa is referring to the owner of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kalanithi Maran, who is the brother of Dayanidhi Maran, a Member of Parliament from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Her tweet is in sharp contrast to the message put out by Bharathiraja, who is considered to be her mentor in the film industry.
Bharathiraja in a statement on Thursday had said, "Do you want your face to be forever associated with a racist person and be looked at with hatred by people? Somehow try and avoid being a part of this biopic on the life of a person who hates the Tamils. If you do, you will forever be looked at with gratitude in the hearts of people from Eelam and myself."
He further called the cricketer a 'betrayer'. â€śWhen our children from Eelam died, Muttiah played the fiddle. He completely supported Sri Lankan racism. No matter how much he may have achieved as a cricket player, what use are those when he laughed and enjoyed when our people died? How many betrayals have our people overcome. According to us, Muttiah Muralitharan too is a betrayer," said Bharathiraja's statement.