While the nation gears up to drown in the world of Baahubali, people in Karnataka may not get it to watch it, thanks to a statewide bandh call given by pro-Kannada organisations. The bandh call comes as a massive disappointment for fans but Vatal Nagaraj, the self-proclaimed flag bearer of Kannada pride says its all about the love for the land. We asked him if he was just being opportunistic and engaging in a publicity gimmick over a high budget, much-anticipated movie. Here is what he had to say:
Why are you stalling the release of Baahubali 2? Doesn't it seem like a publicity gimmick?
We have nothing against the film. I have said it before and I repeat it. We have no personal vendetta against the film. We are only opposing Satyaraj, an actor in the film. We demand that he tender an unconditional apology for his statements against Cauvery, Kannada, Karnataka and Kannadigas. We will protest against the film's release until he apologises. Let him tender an unconditional apology like Rajinikanth had and we won't oppose the movie's release.
Why oppose only Baahubali 2? Where was your protest when other movies of Satyaraj were released?
We have always been against his statements. It is not that we did not register a protest. Yes, other movies of his were released here but this time around all pro-Kannada organisations have come together to protest. More than 2,000 organisations will protest the release.
That is exactly what I am asking, why now?
This was the right opportunity. There may have been smaller movies but this time more organisations have come forward to protest. He is an actor and many of his movies may have released but our opposition to him was always there. We demand his apology.
So do you accept that you are being opportunistic in your protest because Baahubali 2 is a mega film?
No no, it is not being opportunistic. I said that an opportunity has now emerged for all Kannada organisations to come together and protest. It is not just about the right opportunity, it is also about collective anger. What stops Satyaraj from apologising?
What is your grouse against Satyaraj? What comments of his have irked you?
He likened Cauvery to his wife and described the river we consider our mother in a disrespectful manner. He abused Kannadigas and Karnataka. He called us names in full public view. People such as Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan were on the stage and he spoke in the most disgusting manner. He directly attacked me and other Kannada activists. Should we not question it?
You are reacting to a statement that was made a year ago. Isn't it unnecessary?
Absolutely not. Would you let off a person who committed a crime simply because he did a few years ago? Would the law not punish him? Why should a Kannadiga watch the movie of a man who abused the land and its people? He is a fool to have made such statements and we demand that he apologise. It doesn't matter when he made the statements. He insulted Karnataka, Cauvery and Kannadigas and he has to apologise for it. Didn't Rajinikanth apologies? Let Satyaraj apologise too.
What if the movie is released with the government's support?
Even if the army is brought down, we will protest. There is no going back on the protest. If the movie is released we will oppose it. We have called for a bandh and pro-Kannada organisations statewide will stand with us. Not even bathrooms, leave alone cinema halls should screen the movie. I reiterate that we have nothing against Baahubali 2 as a movie. Our anger is against Satyaraj.