Despite the clarification from actor Suriya that Jai Bhim had no intentions to hurt any particular community, Tamil Nadu's Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) is loving to keep the fire against Suriya after finding a talking point to reiterate its Vanniyar vote bank politics, in the midst of electoral debacles in the local body polls. The cadres of the party tend to grab attention by attacking Suriya and have been fueling the fire, which has now burnt the effigy of the actor, hours after his new movie Etharkkum Thunindhavan hit the big screens.
The movie was released on March 10 and has become the first film for Suriya to hit the theatres after over two years. Amid the grand reception and mixed reviews, a section of PMK workers had turned heads with a picture where they can be seen posing with a burning effigy of actor Suriya. The party has been demanding a public apology from the actor for defaming the Vanniyar community in Jai Bhim even after his assertion that the movie had no intentions of hurting the Vanniyar community.
According to reports, members of PMK in Kumbakonam had set fire on an effigy of Suriya on Thursday. Recently, Vijayvarman, the Cuddalore district secretary of PMK's student union, has written a letter to the Theatre Owners' Association in the district demanding not to screen Etharkkum Thunindhavan. In his letter, Vijayvarman has put PMK's stereotyped propaganda against Jai Bhim and that Suriya should publicly apologize to the Vanniyar community for degrading them in the movie.
Vijayvarman had claimed that Jai Bhim had attempted to malign the PMK and said that the police sub-inspector in the movie has been portrayed as a casteist and as a Vanniyar by showcasing the symbol of the community, Agni Kalasam, in his home. In the version of Vijayvarman, Jai Bhim had portrayed the entire Vanniyar community people as casteists. He stated that Jai Bhim aimed to create caste rifts between Vanniyar and Irular community people, who live in communal harmony.
He said, "Suriya has depicted the Vanniyar community insultingly and shown the community as people who indulge in atrocities. On behalf of PMK and the Vanniyar Sangam, I request that the films of actor Suriya (including Etharkkum Thunindhavan) should not be screened in the Cuddalore district until he (Suriya) publicly apologises to the people of the Vanniyar community for continuously portraying Vanniyars in a derogatory way and as violent people in his films."
However, there were no disruptions in Cuddalore and the movie had released as scheduled. In Kumbakonam, where the actor's effigy was burnt, Etharkkum Thunindhavan was screened in two theatres under police protection, overviewed by DSP Asokan. The visuals had shown that the theatres had attracted a fewer crowd but no impasse was caused in the release. PMK's Anbumani Ramadoss started the attack against Jai Bhim and the party's propaganda against Suriya is growing as it has been taken by young cadres.
Etharkkum Thunindhavan is bankrolled by Kalanithi Maran under his own banner of Sun Pictures and helmed by Pandiraj. While Suriya plays the lead role as an advocate, Priyanka Arul Mohan, Vinay Rai, Sathyaraj, Rajkiran, Jayaprakash, MS Bhaskar, and Soori play important roles. D Imman has composed the music and Etharkkum Thunindhavan is the first big movie for Suriya to release in theatres after over two years while his previous movies 'Soorarai Pottru' and 'Jai Bhim' had released directly on Amazon Prime.