The highly anticipated Vijay starrer Thalaiva was dragged to the court on Wednesday with the real life son of a Mumbai-based Tamil businessman, the role which Vijay is said to be portraying in the movie, filing a civil suit charging the makers of the film with distorting the lives of both his late father and grandfather.
There is an interesting twist to the narrative since the petitioner, a Dalit, is sore over the protrayal of his father and grandfather, who are claimed to be community leaders.
In his petition before the II Assistant Judge, S K R Kannan said he was the grandson of S S Kandasamy, a well-known personality among the Tamil population in Dharavi, Mumbai.
Kannan claimed his grandfather migrated from Tirunelveli to Bombay at a very young age, even before Independence. Kandasamy made money from tannery business, with which he had bought several houses and complexes and gave them out on rent to the poor among the Tamil community. He was also, at one point, the vice-president of the South Indian Adi Dravida Mahajan Sangh.
Kandasamy, the petition said, always dressed in white and carried an umbrella, which became his unique identity. However, in February 1977, Kandasamy was done to death by his business rivals. After his death, the mantle seemed to have moved to Kannan’s father S K Ramasamy. The petition said Kandasamy had three sons, including Ramasamy. Among the other two, one was murdered by rivals and the other one died under “mysterious circumstances”, leaving only his father as the male heir.
According to the petition, Ramasamy too became famous through the assistance he rendered to the Tamil population, especially during the anti-Tamil movement in Bombay in the 1970s when he protected many Tamils from marauding fundamentalists. Ramasamy too wore white attire, and like his father Kandasamy, earned a unique identity for this.
Ramasamy apparently died in his native village of Seethaparpanallur, Tirunelveli, in 1987.
The petitioner claimed that from press interviews and statements of the film makers, including the director, he realised that the movie Thalaiva was based on the lives of his father and grandfather. The character of his father was played by Vijay and that of his grandfather by Satyaraj. When the father character is killed by enemies, the mantle is passed to the son, who takes revenge on those who killed his father.
Kannan argued that his grandfather and father were being portrayed as dons in the Dharavi area in the likes of the famous Varadaraja Mudaliar, which was a total distortion of facts. They never indulged in illegal activities and were social leaders.
“The characters have been depicted in a bad shape without verifying the truth. If this film is released, it would create a wrong impression on Kandasamy and Ramasamy and their family members among the public,” the petition contended and said this would defame the family as kith and kin as criminals, though the characters in real life never had any cases against them.
Therefore, Kannan sought a permanent injunction on the release of the movie.