Following the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) deciding to block the release of Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala across the state, the Tamil films superstar has given his reaction.
Addressing a news briefing before departing for Tuticorin where he is to meet the victims and the families of the violence and firing that erupted last week in the protests against the Sterlite Copper unit there, Rajinikanth was asked about Kaala being banned. He said:
"I don't know the reason for that (film being banned). I only came to know about it yesterday."
He added that he hopes that the South Indian Film Chamber will take necessary steps in the matter.
The Karnataka-wide ban on Kaala was imposed after the KFCC held a meeting with movie distributors and exhibitors. There has been opposition to the film's release from pro-Kannada fringe groups that have taken exception to Rajinikanth supporting his state Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery water-sharing tussle.
On Tuesday, Republic TV spoke to a distributor who had attended the KFCC meeting, who said:
"It's not about blocking the movie. The Cauvery water issue is a big issue in the state of Karnataka. It's a political, cultural and sensitive issue. Considering all this the film chamber has given us a directive to not screen the film. And not to release the film is a voluntary step we have taken in order to support our state and film chamber."
Earlier, a fringe group called Karnataka Rakshana Vedike had issued a message for Rajinikanth regarding his film:
"We are warning Rajnikanth on behalf of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike. We will not allow Rajnikanth's Kaala movie to be screened in the state because he supported Tamil Nadu in the Cauvery issue. We've requested producers and directors across the state to support us on this issue. If any theater-owner screens the movie then they will face serious consequences. Even if Rajnikanth tenders an apology, we will not allow his movie to be released in the state."
Kaala, scheduled to release on June 7, is billed as an action-drama film. It is directed by Pa. Ranjith and produced by Dhanush with Rajinikanth in the lead role. It also stars Nana Patekar and Huma Qureshi. The film's release has already been pushed back on account of the water-sharing dispute.
Furthermore, it isn't just in Karnataka where protests over the Cauvery issue have affected a big entertainment event. The Chennai Super Kings IPL team were forced to move their home ground to Pune after just one game in Chennai after groups protested against the IPL being held while farmers are suffering on account of water shortages.