With the strong wave of support to actor Suriya in the Jai Bhim controversy, Vanniyar Sangam has probably realized that it is sailing on the wrong waters. As the caste body has sent a legal notice for Suriya by alleging that the movie Jai Bhim has defamed the Vanniyar community, it has eventually ended up stirring boundless support and solidarity to the actor across and beyond the borders.
From thousands of fans to fraternities, people had reaffirmed their support to Suriya and strengthened the voice #WeStandWithSuriya. In line with that, reputed filmmakers Bharathiraja and Vetri Maaran have poured their staunch support to Suriya. The Vanniyar Sangam has issued the notice to Suriya and the makers of Jai Bhim demanding to pay Rs 5 crore in seven days for defaming the Vanniyar community.
The notice was issued on Monday and it has thrown more weight on the accusations made by PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss against the movie. It is to be noted that PMK has a strong voter base from the Vanniyar community in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu. According to reports, the state president of the Vanniyar Sangam has issued a legal notice to Suriya and TJ Gnanavel in which the president has demanded the makers of the movie to tender an unconditional apology and remove the scenes from the movie that are defamatory against the community.
The notice was sent by advocate Baalu, a PMK leader, on behalf of Pu Tha Arulmozhi, the president of the Vanniyar Sangam. Besides Suriya and Gnanavel, the notice has also included the names of Suriya's wife Jyothika, who produced the movie under the banner of 2D Entertainment, and a representative of Amazon, as the movie was directly released on Amazon Prime Video on November 2. The notice has urged the makers to cease making or publishing any false, malicious, and defamatory remarks against the Vanniyar community and its people.
The notice has come despite the scenes were removed and it has claimed that that certain scenes were taken against the community and also said that a scene in the movie where 'Agni Kundam' (a pot with the fire) is seen printed on a calendar. The president of the outfit has said that Agni Kundam is a symbol of Vanniyars and it was seen in the residence of the policeman, who tortures Rajakannu, a tribal man from the Irular community. It further claimed that the movie tends to conceptualize the Vanniyars in an inappropriate manner as it has shown the policeman, who is the sub-inspector, as a Vanniyar.
The notice further said that this was made to deliberately degrade the Vanniyar Sangam and to spoil the reputation of the entire Vanniyar community. The advocate has said, "Our client says that you (Suriya and the team) have retained the real names of the real characters in the real incident in the movie. But deliberately you have changed the name of the sub-inspector. In the real story, the sub-inspector was called Anthonysamy, who was a Chrisitan by religion."
In the movie, the name of the sub-inspector goes by Gurumurthy and according to the notice, the name represents Kaaduvetti Guru, a popular leader of PMK. The president of the Vanniyar Sangam has demanded the Jai Bhim team tender an unconditional apology for damaging the reputation of the Vanniyar community. It has urged to place an apology within 24 hours. It has asked Suriya and the team to pay Rs 5 crore within seven days from the time and date of receipt of this notice for causing disrepute for the community. However, ever since the news of the notice hit headlines, Suriya has been adding more Jai Bhims through the apparent support from the fans and fraternities.
On Tuesday, veteran director Bharathiraja has penned a scathing letter to PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss and his letter has come days after Suriya has responded to the accusations from Anbumani. The director has expressed his anger over such attacks on the actor. He wrote, "Leave the cinema industry alone. Don't know whom we have to fear while taking the movie. There is no conceptualization in Jai Bhim that was imposed or distorted. It creates a fear that whether the artists have to stand in front of the residences of every politician to narrate the story. The instigation of hatred and violence on actor Suriya will become an awful precedent."
He further said, "Suriya is not a person of hurting others. He is moving by providing education and helping the needy. He has given him to support the director and everyone is equal for him and he won't see others with discrimination." "Changes were made as you (Anbumani) has asked. I appeal to you to leave the cinema industry in its own nature. Why the war of words with a person (Suriya) who hears your opinion always? I can't understand why this matter, which could have been resolved in a phone call, became a fury. Whatever it is, speak to us and we are friends who will correct ourselves. Will travel with forever friendship. Thank you", Bharathiraja added.
In line with Bharathiraja, National Award Winning director Vetri Maaran has also expressed his solidarity to Suriya and the Jai Bhim team. Taking to Twitter, he had released a statement in which he said, "The commitment of director TJ Gnanavel to make this film to let the world know the plight of the victims and Suriya's constant efforts towards social justice, on and offscreen is truly inspiring. #Jaibheem (sic). It's only natural these films cause angst amongst those who don't want the status quo to change."
"#WeStandWithSuriya. Films that question the inequalities and injustices of a society too are weapons towards social justice. We stand by the whole team of #Jaibheem (sic)", Vetri Maaran added. He wrote on Twitter, "No one can be made to feel lesser for doing the right thing Jai bheem. Suriya is one star who is redefining stardom." Tamil Nadu producers association had also given a back to Suriya in this grim matter.
Tamil Nadu Active Producers Association, for which Bharathiraja is president, said, "Cinema is a medium that discusses almost all topics, ranging from love, education, and social reform. People's experiences are captured and ultimately displayed for them. It is ultimately left upon people to decide to interpret it the way they want." It further added, "Jai Bhim is also such a creation that is part of efforts to instigate social change. A movie produced by Jyothika and Suriya and directed by Gnanavel. Seeing him as against positive change or encouraging violence against him will set a wrong example. The best thing to do would be to let art stand for itself."
No one can be made to feel lesser for doing the right thing#Jaibheem. Suriya is one star who is redefining stardom. pic.twitter.com/BUdjw6v0g1— Vetri Maaran (@VetriMaaran) November 16, 2021