PMK Mayiladuthurai district secretary Panneerselvam had announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone who would attack the actor when he visits the district.

Suriya in a black suit and white shirt standing in front of a bookshelf in a poster from Jai Bhim
Flix Controversy Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 09:00

Actor Suriya’s house in T Nagar in Chennai has been given armed police protection due to the ongoing row surrounding his film Jai Bhim, and those in the Vanniyar community alleging that the film “tarnished” their reputation. The police protection was given to the actor after an intel report which said that there is threat perception. This comes after Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) Mayiladuthurai district secretary Panneerselvam announced to the media a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone who would attack the actor when he visits the district.

Panneerselvam had also approached the police seeking action against Suriya. On November 14, a group of PMK cadres led by him barged into a theatre in Mayiladuthurai district and forced the manager to stop screening a Suriya film.

A legal notice sent by the Vanniyar Sangam demanded that the community’s symbol of the raging fire pot be removed from Jai Bhim, and an apology be issued for "damning, tarnishing and damaging the reputation" of the community. It further sought payment of Rs 5 crore in damages.

Read: Vanniyar Sangam issues notice to Suriya, makers of Jai Bhim, seeks Rs 5 cr in damages

Jai Bhim, though based on a true incident of custodial torture and death of a tribal man in 1995 in Tamil Nadu, contains elements of fiction. The crux of the allegations found in the notice is that the Vanniyar community was shown in “poor light, vilified by naming the wicked police sub-inspector as 'Guru' (Gurumurthy) and by showcasing the fire pot symbol of the community”, and this was both criminal and civil defamation. Vanniyars, or the Vanniya Kula Kshatriyas, are a Most Backward Community in Tamil Nadu and are predominant in the northern districts of the state.

Read: Jai Bhim row: PMK cadre barge into TN theatre, stop screening of Suriya film

Many have come out in support of Suriya amid the controversy, including director Pa Ranjith, Jai Bhim director TJ Gnanavel and director Vetrimaaran, along with Director Bharathiraja and the Tamil Film Active Producers Association.

Read: Jai Bhim row: Bharathiraja-led Tamil producers association backs Suriya

The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday wrote to former Union minister and PMK leader Ambumani Ramadoss, urging the party not to criticise Suriya as he “does not have any political, caste or religious affiliations, is a socially responsible philanthropist and an advocate for equality in education.”

Read: Don't criticise Suriya: South Indian Film Chamber to PMK amid Jai Bhim row

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.