Months after a row over the Tamil film Sarkar made headlines, the Chennai Central Crime Branch has booked filmmaker AR Murugadoss over dialogues in the film that allegedly promote enmity towards the government. An FIR was reportedly registered on Monday, based on a November 8 complaint by a man named Devarajan who claimed that the film instigates violence.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, an FIR has been registered under Sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 505 (1) (b) (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility) and 505 (1) (c) (with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both).
On November 9, the Madras High Court passed an interim order not to arrest Sarkar director AR Murugadoss until November 27. His film, which was critical of political parties in the state, had rankled the ruling dispensation. AR Murugadoss had sought anticipatory bail apprehending arrest by the Chennai police.
In a bizarre move, the Tamil Nadu government had sought an undertaking from the director stating that he would not criticise the policies of the government in his films again.
In response, Murugadossâ€™s plea in court had stated that he had the right to address and highlight social views in films as guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 19(1)(a). The plea also stated that he is also allowed the promotion of "advocacy or ideas as well discussion of one's own ideas."
Sarkar has actor Vijay in the lead role, with Keerthy Suresh as the heroine. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar plays a negative role in the film. After objections were raised on her name in the film - Komalavalli, which is believed to be late TN CM Jayalalithaa's real name - and certain dialogues, the filmmakers agreed to remove the controversial portions from the film.