Director Hari, who rose to fame in 2003 with his cop story Saamy starring Vikram in the lead, has now expressed his disappointment over having made five films that glorified the police.
In his letter dated and signed June 28, the director, whose famous cop glorifying films include Suriya’s Singam franchise, wrote that no person from Tamil Nadu should undergo the brutality that took place in Sathankulam. “The Sathankulam incident should not happen to anyone else in Tamil Nadu. The only way for that is to punish all those involved with the highest sentence. The violation by some in the police force has brought dishonour upon the entire force. I am deeply saddened today for having made five films glorifying the police,” he wrote.
Hari's statement comes after massive outrage in Tamil Nadu over the custodial deaths of father and son Jayaraj and Bennix. The two of them were allegedly subjected to police brutality and torture which led to their deaths. While the postmortem report is yet to be made public, the eyewitness accounts in the media have led to much public anger.
Hari has made five films on the police force so far, and all of them justify encounters and glorify police violence. In his letter, the director is referring to two Saamy films – Saamy and Saamy Square – made 15 years apart; and three Singam films – Singam, Singam II and Singam III - starring Suriya in the lead.
The films have elaborate action sequences with the lead characters mouthing punch dialogues that glorify the power vested upon the police and the need for violence to keep crime under control. In all these films, the police officers do not flinch in admitting that they wouldn’t bat an eyelid before lifting the baton to bring those causing trouble under control.
Hari’s Singam franchise has spurred remakes in other languages as well. The first Singam film released in 2010 in Tamil and was remade in several Indian languages including Kannada, Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi. In Hindi it was fronted by actor Ajay Devgn.
Several celebrities have been tweeting about the deaths, including Priyanka Chopra, Rajkummar Rao, Rakul Preet Singh, Disha Patani. Actor Suriya also released a statement condemning the custodial violence and called for an end to violence of power.
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