Bollywood pic “Madras Cafe,” which opens Friday, has run into trouble in the south Indian state of Tamilnadu from activists who oppose what they see as a skewed view of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as terrorists.
The Viacom18 release is set during the Sri Lankan civil war in the 1980s and is toplined by John Abraham as an Indian intelligence agent. The pic is said to include the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi at a campaign stop.
While the Indian film censor board approved the pic, directed by Shoojit Sircar, for unspooling throughout the country, those in Tamilnadu, who have a special connection to the Tamils of Sri Lanka, are fighting its release.
Exhibitors in Tamilnadu are fearful of violence, with one telling the Hindu newspaper that it was “not worth the risk” to show the film. That is the outcome a number of orgs such as We Tamil and Pattali Makkal Katchi would prefer. The Bharatiya Janata Party has also asked for a ban in Mumbai and all over India, but some have pushed for the film to be shown on freedom of speech grounds.
Meanwhile Abraham, who is also a producer, appealed for the pic’s wide release. “I would like to urge all of Chennai (Tamilnadu capital) to support ‘Madras Cafe’ as a film and allow it to release (as scheduled). It is a credible film made with a lot of heart and gives audiences something novel to be entertained about, vouching and encouraging cinema,” Abraham said in a statement .