In big news, Vijay Sethupathi has confirmed that he is withdrawing from the Muthiah Muralidaran biopic 800 which has been in controversy for days now. The actor tweeted a letter written by the former Sri Lankan cricketer, requesting him to withdraw from the film, accompanied with the words "Thank you, goodbye" in Tamil. Vijay Sethupathi's publicist Yuvaraj also confirmed the news to TNM.
Ever since the actor’s first look from the project came out on October 13, several objections were raised by the Tamil community. The allegations said that Muralidaran was a supporter of the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka which is accused of committing genocide against the Tamil people. On social media, the hashtag #ShameonVijaySethupathi trended as several users asked the actor not to be associated with the film.
On Monday, Muralidaran, who is in the eye of the storm, wrote a letter requesting Vijay Sethupathi to excuse himself from the project. He has said that he does not wish to be the reason for a great artist from Tamil Nadu getting affected. “Keeping in mind that Vijay Sethupathi should not face any unnecessary hurdles in future, I request him to withdraw from this film," he said. Vijay Sethupathi acknowledged the tweet with the words 'Nandri, Vanakkam', which is used as a sign off in Tamil.
As the noise around the film grew louder, the cricketer had previously written a letter about his stance on the violence in Sri Lanka and his relationship with the Tamil community in the country. He had claimed that he has never supported the murder of innocents.
However, although Muralidaran has requested Vijay Sethupathi to step away from the project, the cricketer has said that he hopes to see this film make it to the big screen. Explaining that he intended this biopic to be a source of inspiration for future generations and young cricketers, he has written, “I hope they will deliver this film despite these odds. An announcement will be made, the production house has said, and I will give them my full support.”
800, to be produced by Movie Train Motion Pictures and Dar Motion Pictures, has been receiving sharp criticism from a section of Tamils, including Tamil film industry veterans like director Bharathiraja. However, others like actor Radikaa Sarathkumar had supported Vijay Sethupathi. The production house had said in a letter earlier that the film will not hurt the sentiments of anyone.
Meanwhile, an old audio clip from an interview that Vijay Sethupathi had given on the film has been circulating on the internet. The actor had spoken positively about the project at the time, insisting that the film would answer several questions, and that he would definitely do the project.