TN-2ND LD ALL SARKAR

Objectionable scenes in film 'Sarkar' cut, TN govt thanks crew
(Eds: Updates with fresh inputs, clubs related
stories, adds Sun pictures statement)
Chennai, Nov 9 (PTI) The issue over actor Vijay's Tamil
film 'Sarkar' blew over Friday with its producers voluntarily
cutting scenes, including an apparent reference to late chief
minister J Jayalalithaa and criticism of welfare schemes
initiated by her, and the AIADMK government welcoming it.
A day after the movie faced a backlash from AIADMK over
the 'objectionable' scenes and reference, prompting the makers
to agree for the cuts, Information and Publicity Minister
Kadambur C Raju welcomed it and said the "issue has come to an
end" and AIADMK would not stage any more protests against it.
His cabinet colleague R B Udhayakumar thanked the film
producers for respecting "the sentiments of Tamil people" and
urged movie-makers to exercise restraint in future.
Earlier in the day, Tamil 'Superstar' Rajinikanth threw
his weight behind Vijay, questioning the AIADMK's rationale in
protesting against a film certified by the censor board.
After several ministers objected to the reference to
Jayalalithaa and some scenes, including the one showing mixers
and grinders being burnt, AIADMK workers Thursday protested in
front of several theatres screening the film, released on
Deepavali day on November 6.
In a related legal development, the Madras High Court
Friday restrained the police from arresting the film's
director A R Murugadoss till November 27.
Passing interim orders on the anticipatory bail
application filed by Murugadoss, who apprehended arrest in
connection with some complaints lodged against him, Justice G
K Ilanthiraiyan directed him to co-operate with the police and
adjourned the matter to November 27.
Murugadoss's counsel informed the court that the
objectionable portions had already been removed from the film.
According to Tamil film industry sources, "relevant
scenes" in 'Sarkar' have been removed and the theatres will
now start screening the 'edited' version.
They added the cuts in the digital copies of the film
for all theatres can be made online from Chennai itself.
The cuts effected were 'voluntary' with the approval of
the Central Board of Film Certification, they said.
"While we don't know how many scenes have been deleted,
we can say for sure that the objectionable scene on mixer and
grinder being burnt has been removed," they said.
Also, the audio part mentioning the name Komalavalli,
deemed to be a reference to Jayalalithaa, will be 'muted,'
they said.
Meanwhile, Sun Pictures, producers of the movie, said
that certain scenes 'considered to be controversial' were
removed in the interest of public safety, as well as on pleas
from theatre owners.
A company statement said that the ruling party members
had resorted to violence and caused damage to property in
theatres.
"Heeding the requests of theatre owners and considering
the safety of the movie going public and their belongings, one
or two scenes that were said to be controversial, have been
removed," the statement, which also carreid a tag line
"sarkar filmcrew'" said.
The removal of the scenes prompted Raju to declare that
the "issue has come to an end" and that the AIADMK would not
hold anymore protests.
"We believe they (Sarkar team) have realised that they
have hurt people's sentiments and have come forward to remove
the scenes... it is welcome. So the issue has come to an end.
The protests (against the film) will not continue," he told
reporters here.
Defending the protests, Raju said AIADMK workers
"ranging from an ordinary cadre to the Chief Minister (K
Palaniswami)," consider Jayalalithaa as their 'God'.
"We have nothing to do with the film or Vijay," Raju
said describing the star as a "dear friend."
He said the party's opposition had nothing to do with
criticism of the government.
A name said to be referring to Jayalalithaa was used
for a negative character and therefore the opposition to it
was "wholehearted" from the party workers, he added.
Revenue Minister Udhayakumar thanked the 'Sarkar' crew
for removing the scenes.
"In future, filmmakers should avoid including scenes
that would hurt the sentiments, especially relating to Amma's
(Jayalalithaa's) sacrifices and hardwork," he said.
Fans of "dear brother Vijay" also benefited from
government welfare schemes like the free mixer-grinder and fan
initiative, he told reporters in Madurai.
Meanwhile, Rajinikanth "strongly condemned" the demands
for deletion of the scenes.
"It is against the law to hold protests seeking removal
of some scenes from a Censor board certified film and trying
to stall the screening and damaging the banners," he tweeted.
On Thursday, the AIADMK was up in arms against 'Sarkar'
with senior state ministers demanding deletion of the
contentious scenes, besides threatening to initiate legal
action if the film crew failed to comply.
Law Minister C Ve Shanmugham had said certain scenes
amounted to inciting violence and warned of 'action'.
The AIADMK took strong exception to scenes showing
mixer-grinder and fans being burnt, seen as an obvious affront
to its flagship scheme of providing these goods free of cost
to people, fulfilling an electoral promise made by
Jayalalithaa in 2011.
'Sarkar' had earlier courted a row after an aspiring
filmmaker claimed that the film's story was his, following
which director Murugadoss went in for a compromise with him.
Produced by Sun Pictures, the film stars Vijay and
Keerthi Suresh in key roles with Oscar winner A R Rahman
scoring the music.
Vijay's 2017 film 'Mersal' too had ran into a
controversy after BJP objected to some scenes critical of
GST among others. PTI SA COR VS
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