Protests in TN over ‘derogatory’ portrayal of Muslims in Amaran teaser

The protesters alleged that Muslims were portrayed in a bad light in the teaser of actor Sivakarthikeyan’s upcoming film ‘Amaran’, bankrolled by actor Kamal Haasan’s Raaj Kamal Films International, Sony Pictures, and R Mahendran.
Actor Sivakarthikeyan in the teaser of 'Amaran'
Actor Sivakarthikeyan in the teaser of 'Amaran'Screengrab
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Members of the political party Tamilaga Makkal Jananayaga Katchi (TMJK) took to the streets in several parts of Tamil Nadu on Thursday, February 22, condemning the portrayal of Mulims in the upcoming Tamil movie Amaran. The protestors alleged that Muslims were portrayed in a bad light in the film, which is produced by actor Kamal Haasan’s Raaj Kamal Films International, Sony Pictures International Productions, and R Mahendran. Starring actor Sivakarthikeyan, the movie is a biopic of late Indian Army officer Major Mukund Varadarajan, who was killed in a fight at Shopian of Kashmir in April 2014. He was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra award, the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award.

A 90-second teaser of the film and the first-look poster of the film was released on the actor’s birthday, February 16, by Kamal Haasan. The teaser shows Sivakarthikeyan as late Major Mukund, leading the Indian Army’s 44 Rashtriya Rifles Cheetah Company. The teaser opens with an Indian soldier kidnapped and threatened by a group of Muslims, including children.

Protesters alleged that Muslims were portrayed in a derogatory manner in the teaser and raised slogans against both Sivakarthikeyan and Kamal Haasan. They also demanded the Tamil Nadu government intervene and ban the film, and sought the police to slap charges of Goondas Act against the actors. As the protestors tried to burn the effigies of the duo, police dispersed the gathering and detained some protesters. Protests were held in several places, including Tirunelveli, Tiruppur, and Cuddalore.

Kamal Haasan’s 2013 film Vishwaroopam had also faced stiff opposition from Muslim groups, who demanded that it should be banned because it portrays Muslims as terrorists. The film which was scheduled to be released for Republic Day in 2013 was finally released in Tamil Nadu only on February 7 because of the protests. Outside the state, however, the film was released on date. Kamal plays dual roles as Wizam and Vishwanath in the film. While Wizam is an Indian agent, he leads a double life as Vishwanath, Tamil Brahmin Kathak dancer with exaggerated effeminate mannerisms in New York.

Read: 'Vishwaroopam' films and the confused Good Muslim vs Bad Muslim framework

Amaran features Sai Pallavi in the lead and also actors Bhuvan Arora and Rahul Bose in supporting roles. Directed by Rajkumar Periasamy, the music of the film is composed by GV Prakash Kumar, and cinematography by CH Sai, editing by Kalaivanan.

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