A biopic on Sri Lankan cricketing sensation of Tamil origin, Muttiah Muralitharan, has courted such a controversy that Tamil film actor Vijay Sethupathi, who was to play the cricketer in the film, has also landed in trouble. Producers Movie Train Motion Pictures and Dar Motion Pictures on 8th October officially released the first-look poster of 800, that announced the biopic with Vijay Sethupathi as the hero. Earlier, UK-based Tamil singer Teejay had turned down the offer to play the role of young Muralitharan, saying that the script also spoke about the Sri Lankan civil war. That was enough for not just Tamil fringe elements but also leading Tamil film personalities and politicians to demand that Vijay step back from the project. For them, Muralitharan’s near-silence when the Sri Lankan army killed Tamilians was a bigger issue than the genocide itself.
Meanwhile, Muralitharan gave a statement that his 2019 interview, where he said that 2009 was his “happiest in life” was distorted out of context as what he meant was that the war and loss of lives had ended. It was twisted, he said, to make it appear that he meant that he was happy about the genocide. But that seems to have not helped at all.