CHENNAI: Vijay's Deepavali release, Sarkar, directed by AR Murugadoss, faced a host of issues in the month leading up to its release on Tuesday. Now, since its release it has drawn the ire of the ruling AIADMK party with senior leaders such as Fisheries minister D Jayakumar, Law minister CV Shanmugham, and the Minister for Information and Publicity, Kadambur Raju, registering their outrage against the film for allegedly portraying certain government schemes in a bad light.
Party workers have staged protests across the State, forcing distributors on Thursday to agree to cut the contentious scenes from screenings of the film beginning Friday night. These scenes, that have drawn criticism, include a purported dig at welfare schemes made popular by late Chief Ministers, M Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa.
In one scene, director Murugadoss (in a cameo) hurls a government freebie into a fire. Further, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, who plays an antagonist in the film, is named Komalavalli. The film is produced by the Kalanithi Maran-owned Sun Pictures, and also stars Keerthy Suresh and Radharavi. State ministers had called for the deletion of these scenes and threatened to take the legal route against the film, even as protests erupted in different parts of the state. On Thursday, the theatre owners association announced that these contentious scenes would be deleted.
"We have decided to delete the scenes that AIADMK workers found to be offensive," said Shanmugasundaram, owner of Udhayam Theatres in Chennai. Discussing the changes made to the film that will be applicable from Friday, distributor Tirupur Subramaniam said, that among other things, the name 'Komalavalli' would be muted in the film."
"The new Sarkar won't be one that hurts sentiments. We have spoken with Sarkar's Tamil Nadu distributors, Thenandal Studios Limited, and have decided to make the necessary changes. The revised version of the film is expected to reach theatres by Friday night," he added.
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As these are voluntary cuts, the film will not have to be re-certified by the Censor board. On Thursday, AIADMK workers, led by MLA VV Rajan Chellappa, staged protests outside theatres in Madurai demanding that the screening of the film be halted till those scenes were deleted. In Coimbatore, posters of the actor and the film were torn down. The protests also hit Chennai with similar incidents being reported near Kasi Theatre where banners were torn down by AIADMK workers. Meanwhile, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan had tweeted out his support to the film.