Mari Selvaraj’s film faces backlash in Theni theatre! Police arrests around 20 protestors..

(This article is authored by Alar)

The release of Maamannan, a political thriller directed by Mari Selvaraj and starring Udayanidhi Stalin, Vadivelu, Fahadh Faasil and Keerthy Suresh, has been met with protests and petitions from some sections of a specific community in Tamil Nadu who allege that the film portrays them in a negative light and might incite caste violence.

The film, which hit the screens on Thursday, June 29, 2023, has also received positive reviews from critics and audiences for its gripping storyline and performances, especially the film turning heads for the Vadivelu's new avatar.

In latest development,  police detained 20 people who were staging protests in front of a theatre in Theni district against the screening of the film. The protesters reportedly belonged to the Tamil Desiya Forward Bloc, a political outfit that supports the community.

They raised slogans against the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and accused it of instigating caste riots by allowing the film to be released. Police protection was also given to three theatres in Thoothukudi district where Maamannan was being screened.

The controversy around the film began when Mari Selvaraj said at the audio launch that his film was inspired by Kamal Haasan’s Thevar Magan, a 1992 blockbuster that depicted the feudal nature and caste politics of the specific community in southern Tamil Nadu. 

The statement of Mari Selvaraj, angered some members of the community who demanded a ban on Maamannan, claiming that it would hurt their sentiments and create clashes between them and the lowered caste group that has been fighting for social justice and dignity. A writ petition was also filed in the Madras High Court from Tirunelveli seeking to revoke the censorship certificate of Maamannan.

Maamannan is not the first film by Mari Selvaraj to face opposition from dominant castes. His previous films, Pariyerum Perumal (2018) and Karnan (2021), also dealt with caste discrimination and violence and were hailed as powerful social dramas. Maamannan is expected to be another milestone in his career as a filmmaker who does not shy away from addressing controversial issues.