Weeks after a First Information Report (FIR) was issued against Kollywood star Nayanthara for certain scenes in her recent film Annapoorani, the actor issued a statement of apology on January 18. In the statement, Nayanthara says, “I am writing this note with a heavy heart and a genuine desire to address the recent turn of events concerning our film, Annapoorani. Crafting Annapoorani was not just a cinematic endeavour but a heartfelt pursuit of inspiring resilience and instilling the spirit of never giving up. It aimed to mirror life's journey, where we learn that obstacles can be overcome with sheer willpower.” The statement was published on a letterhead with ‘Jai Sri Ram’ emblazoned on it.
Nayanthara went on to add that, “In our sincere attempt to share a positive message, we may have inadvertently caused hurt. We did not expect the removal of a censored film, previously showcased in theatres, from the OTT platform. My team and I never intended to hurt anyone's sentiments and we understand the gravity of this issue. Being someone who wholly believes in God and frequently visits temples across the country, it is the last thing I would intentionally do. To those whose feelings we've touched, I extend my sincere and heartfelt apologies.”
Annapoorani follows the story of a Brahmin woman (Nayanthara) from a conservative family who goes on to become a top chef. The film was released in theatres last year and went on to be released on Netflix. On January 8, an FIR was filed against Nayanthara and her co-star Jai, writer-director Nilesh Krishnaa, producers Jatin Sethi, R Ravindran, and Punit Goenka, Zee Studios Chief Business Officer Shariq Patel, and the head of Netflix India Monika Shergill. The FIR was registered in Mumbai, based on a complaint filed by a man named Ramesh Solanki, founder of the Hindu IT Cell.
The Hindu Right wing alleged that their religious sentiments were offended by the protagonist’s decision to eat and cook meat despite being Brahmin, her friendship with a Muslim character (Jai) and a dialogue that suggests that the Hindu god Ram ate meat.
On January 11, Netflix removed Annapoorani from its site and the film’s co-producer Zee Studio released a statement of apology to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad .
In her statement, Nayanthara also added, “The intention behind Annapoorani was to uplift and inspire, not to cause distress. Over the last two decades, my journey in the film industry has been guided with a singular intention — to spread positivity and foster learning from one another.”