Actor turned politician Rajinikanth and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who is also a filmmaker, are caught in an indirect battle which involves both cinema and politics. The encounter between the two politicians, who are heavyweights in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, has come over the release of Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala.
The controversy started after Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce banned the release of the movie in an apparent show of angst against Rajinikanth’s statement on the Cauvery water sharing issue. Politician Rajinikanth had recently joined a protest and said that whichever government comes to Karnataka, should implement the Supreme Court decision on Cauvery water sharing dispute.
The matter soon reached High Court which directed the peaceful release of the movie in the state. Wary of political fallouts, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy made a rather calculated statement on the matter. Kumaraswamy said that as the head of state, it’s his responsibility to ensure the smooth screening of the movie. However, he added, that the movie distributors should avoid releasing the movie in ‘such atmosphere.’ Here, the chief minister invoked his past as a film distributor and producer. Kumaraswamy said that releasing the film would not be useful to the distributor financially.
“Why unnecessarily by releasing the movie this kind of controversy they wanted to create. It is not necessary,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. The JD(S) leader further advanced to release the movie after a solution was reached to the Cauvery water sharing issue.
He said that Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce and several Kannada organizations were “very much” opposing the release of the movie”. “They (distributor) must oblige the opposition from the film chamber and Kannada organizations,” he said.
What Rajinikanth has said
Rajinikanth, on the other hand, has expressed confidence that the film will not have issues in the state. Speaking to reporters, he said that Kannadiga audience definitely wants to watch the movie. “I don’t think Kaala will face any issues in Karnataka. Not just Tamil people in Karnataka, but people who speak other languages also wish to watch the movie,” he said. Rajinikanth also said that Kumaraswamy-led government provides adequate protection to the theatres and audience.
Message from the BJP
Senior BJP leader K S Eshwarappa has opposed the ban on the release of Kaala in Karnataka. “Irrespective of the field they are in, artists are assets to the nation. They are not limited to any region or language,” he told reporters in Chikkamagaluru. “Rajkumar (Kannada matinee idol) was not just limited to Karnataka. He won many awards in different parts of the country. Artistes and actors belong to the whole nation,” he said.