The Tamil Nadu People’s Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC), an NGO against usage of tobacco wants actor Rajinikanth to pay compensation to the family of a man who was killed after a brawl while watching Petta.
In an email written on Wednesday, TNPFTC described an incident that happened on January 12 in a cinema theatre in Udumalaipettai in Tiruppur district during the screening of his most recent film, Petta. According to the letter, a man named Manigandaprabhu who was smoking inside the theatre was assaulted by another man, Thirumoorthy, who was sitting behind him inside the theatre. As the fight became more violent, the men were thrown out of the theatre. Thirumoorthy then allegedly attacked Manigandaprabhu with a wooden log lying outside the movie hall. Manigandaprabhu was taken to Coimbatore Medical College and hospital and he died four days later. A police complaint was filed against Thirumoorthy for Manigandaprabhu’s death.
“The influence of film industry and film actors has been highly contagious, especially amongst children and young adults. Over the years most of your movies have portrayed smoking as an act of heroism, which clearly justifies the above statement,” reads the email written to the actor. Though the actor seems to have no direct link to the incident or the subsequent death, TNPFTC wants him to set an example and also appealed to Rajinikanth not to encourage smoking scenes in his upcoming movies.
Speaking to TNM about the case, a police officer in Udumalaipettai police station said that an FIR has been registered under section 302 (Murder) of the IPC against Thirumoorthy and that he has been remanded to judicial custody. “Manigandaprabhu was attacked by Thirumoorthy using a wooden log. Manigandaprabhu then went to his house and lied down, but did not wake up. His family then took him to a local hospital who then referred him to Coimbatore Medical College where he died due to severe blood clots inside his body,” he said.
The superstar had acknowledged his addiction to alcohol and smoking in a letter he wrote to actor Sivakumar in 2016 and has urged his fans to quit the habit. Wishing Sivakumar a happy birthday, Rajinikanth had then written, “At a time when I was an addict to drinking and smoking, Sivakumar used to advise me saying I would become a great actor and not to spoil my health with these habits.” In 2017, he also opened up about his health issues and urged his fans to quit smoking. He said that excessive smoking led to severe damage to his lungs and kidneys and that he had to be flown to Singapore to get them treated.