Baahubali 2 controversy: Why has the 9-year-old video of Sathyaraj surfaced now?

Just a week before its release [April 28], SS Rajamouli’s film, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, has landed in a fresh controversy that triggered in Karnataka because of a remark made by Sathyaraj aka Kattappa in 2008. The actor commented on the Cauvery River issue between the two states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In the wake of the controversy, many are wondering why this nine-year-old video has surfaced again.

Sources close to the film say that there’s more to the controversy than what’s being reported. “Baahubali: The Beginning released in 2015 and there was no problem then. Why is the issue being brought up now? In fact, the film did really well in Karnataka and had a successful run for weeks. Given its success, some of the theatres could not accommodate many Kannada language films that released around that time. May be they are expecting similar situation this time also, and that’s why they are trying to stop the film from encroaching the market of their local films,” informs the source.

The source further adds that a local popular film distributor from Karnataka was keen on distributing Baahubali 2 in the state and had even approached the makers. “But the deal didn’t fall in place. We are guessing that the same distributor may also be behind the controversy. The situation has turned really bad, and has become a sensitive political issue.”

For those who may not know, at one of the meetings held by Tamil farmers in 2008, actor Sathyaraj was quoted in the media as saying, “Tamils should not be like a tree, which stands silently as any dog comes and urinates on it.” The ‘dog remark’ triggered the controversy. As per Indian Express, he had also called Kannada activist and former MLA Vatal Nagaraj “a comedy character.”

The Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists staged a protest against release of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion following Sathyaraj comment on March 21, 2017. (AFP)

Reportedly, the sequel to the film is being banned in Karnataka till Sathyaraj apologies, which he recently did. Calling himself a proud Tamilian, Sathyaraj issued a statement on Friday saying, “…I am not against Kannadigas or Karnataka… I would like to apologise for the statement that I had made nine years back, and would like to say that I am a small worker in Baahubali film and my comment should not affect the film… I don’t want the consequences of my actions to affect the hard work of thousands of people…” Reacting to the apology, the protestors had said that they will review Sathyaraj’s statement before coming to a conclusion.

Meanwhile, reacting to the controversy, Rajamouli made an emotional appeal in a Twitter video. He said, “Some comments made by Sathyaraj have purportedly hurt the sentiments of Kannadigas. But on behalf of the producers and the crew of the film, I wish to clarify that we have nothing to do with those statements. It’s Sathyaraj’s personal views and not ours.”


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