September 13, 2015

BJP, hardliners warn Rajinikanth against accepting film offer on Tipu Sultan (Arun Janardhanan / Indian Express)


BJP, hardliners warn Rajinikanth against accepting film offer on Tipu Sultan

BJP, hardline outfits say 18th Century ruler ‘committed atrocities against Hindus’, producer says let ‘dogs bark’.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: September 13, 2015

To be directed by Pa. Ranjith, the film chronicles the story of a don, played by Rajinikanth.

Days after a leading Kannada producer said he planned to make a movie on Tipu Sultan and rope in Tamil actor Rajinikanth to star in, the BJP and hardline outfits in Tamil Nadu warned the actor against accepting the offer.

Calling Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore, anti-Tamil, some hardline groups said Tamil actors should avoid accepting any role in the movie.

Senior BJP leader L Ganesan told The Sunday Express that Rajinikanth should not act in the movie. “He (Rajinikanth) is my very good friend. I am sure he will not take up the role portraying Tipu Sultan as a hero. Tipu was an aggressor, who committed maximum atrocities against Hindus. Rajinikanth will never take up a role to portray such a character,” said Ganesan. “Knowing the history, how can I be silent when there are attempts to glorify foreigners who invaded us and our culture,” he added.

Ramagopalan, leader of Hindu Munnani — an outfit with a history of protesting against movies — was the first to demand that Rajinikanth reject the project. Ramagopalan claimed that Tipu Sultan had attacked Tamils during his rule and a film about him would be an insult to Tamils. He also quoted certain portions from the autobiography of former chief minister M G Ramachandran, where he talks about how Tipu Sultan’s attacks had forced his ancestors to shift from Coimbatore to Palakkad.

Hindu Makkal Katchi, another outfit with a sizeable cadre base across the state, also joined the protest Saturday and said it would not allow screening of the movie. “Tipu Sultan was the leader who robbed this country. Rajinikanth is a person who portrays himself as a spiritual leader… Such a person should not be acting in a Tipu Sultan movie,” said Senthil Kumar, state secretary of the Hindu Makkal Katchi.

Sources close to Rajinikanth said he has not taken a decision on the project.

Kannada producer Ashok Kheny, who is planning to make the movie, said people were objecting just for publicity.

“We have not even started the project. During a function last week, I was asked about this plan, which I had in my mind earlier, and my reply to that question has now created a controversy. It is my dream project. A few years ago, I discussed this idea with Rajinikanth and he asked me to go ahead with the story and the script. He never agreed but he was interested in the story. He said it was a good idea. It was Tipu who fought British along with Hindu rulers. It was Tipu who opened trade routes to Persia and several other countries. He had even approached the American rulers to defeat British. What is in my mind is a large-scale movie that would show history, like the movie on the life of Gandhi,” he said.

On threats from Hindu outfits, he said, “Elephants walk and dogs bark.” “There was a Vishnu temple at Tipu’s fort and history says he used to go and pray there. If he was anti-Hindu, why would he keep a temple inside his fort and pray there?” he added.
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