As the release date for Baahuali - The Conclusion nears, the makers of the blockbuster met with Karnataka Film Chamber President Sa Ra Govind and senior actor Ambareesh on Wednesday, asking them to consider the release of the film in the state.
But unfazed by the requests made by director SS Rajamouli, Sa Ra Govind refused to budge and said that they would call off the ban only if Sathyaraj came to Bengaluru and apologised to the people of Karnataka.
“Yes, Rajamouli did meet me and also actor Ambareesh this morning. The director is of the opinion that we are against the release of Telugu films. That is not the case. We have no issues with the film. We have a problem with actor Sathyaraj,” said Sa Ra Govind.
“When Sathyaraj, who is from Tamil Nadu, made anti-Kannada statements during the Cauvery crisis, he hurt the sentiments of Kannadigas. Why should we budge? I told Rajamouli to convince Sathyaraj to apologise. We will not change our stand,” he added.
In addition to the opposition by the film chamber, pro-Kannada organisations under the umbrella of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike have called for a state-wide bandh on April 28, the day, Baahubali 2 is set for release.
“Why are directors pleading with the film chamber and senior actors in Karnataka? He had called us dogs during the Cauvery issue. We want a public apology from Sathyaraj, only then will the film be allowed to release in Karnataka,” said Praveen Shetty, President of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.
The pro-Kannada organisation expressed anger against the makers of Baahubali 2 for attacking Vatal Nagaraj, the President of the Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha, who let out the call for the bandh.
Shetty said that all distributors had sided with the Vedike’s cause and have refused to agree to release the cinema. He also said that the organisation has managed to garner the support of most of the theatre owners across the state.
Several other groups including the Dr Rajkumar Fans Association, have extended support for the protests called by Vatal Nagaraj.
These are not the only problems the film is facing. A film distributor in Tamil Nadu has approached the Madras High Court seeking a stay on the release of the film. The distributor, ACE Media, based in Chennai, has asked for a stay in the release of the film, citing unpaid dues to the tune of Rs 1.18 core.
The company has filed a civil suit claiming that M S Sharavanan of Sri Green Productions had bought the exhibition rights for the film (Tamil) for the state of TN. According to the distributor, Sharavanan had approached them in January last year, asking for a loan to be paid to Prabhu Deva Studio Pvt Ltd. The deal at the time was that Sharavanan would return the amount with an additional Rs 10 lakh before the release of the film.
Baahubali - the Conclusion, the sequel to Baahubali - the Beginning is set to release on April 28. The film will be out in Telugu and Tamil on the same day. With such strong opposition, it remains to be seen how the events will unfurl.
Directed by SS Rajamouli with music by MM Keeravani, the film has Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tammannah, Sathyaraj, Nasser, Ramya Krishnan and others in the star cast.