Thanks to BJP’s hatred for criticism, love for communal politics, Mersal is a blockbuster
Chennai, Oct 24: Probably, beyond south India not many (apart from those who speak Tamil in other parts of India) would have evinced so much interest in the recently released Tamil movie, Mersal, starring popular actor Vijay.
Thanks to the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who want to remove scenes critical of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Digital India initiatives of the Narendra Modi government from the movie, that now everyone in the country is talking about Mersal.
Yes, Mersal is a global hit if we take into consideration the film's earning at the box office. According to trade pundits, the film since its release on October 18 has already made Rs 150 crore worldwide.
Such a big business made by the film in less than a week of its release has definitely brought smiles into the faces of producers of the film.
However, along with happiness, Mersal has also brought furrows on the foreheads of the cast and crew, especially lead actor Vijay and director Atlee, of the film as BJP leaders from Tamil Nadu have been up in arms against the movie for its critical take on the government's policies.
First, the BJP asked the makers of the film to mute the dialogues from the film that take a dig at the GST and Digital India. Then, the saffron party leaders threatened to launch an agitation if the "objectionable" scenes from the film were not removed.
"I have not seen the film. But, people who saw the film were offended by the incorrect statements on GST and digital payments, which are policy decisions taken by the Union government, after lot of study. Celebrities should not be making incorrect statements passingly and just like that," Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundarrajan said.
That is when the producers of the film agreed to cut the controversial scenes and dialogues from the film. However, at this time veteran actor Kamal Haasan and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi threw their weight behind the film and attacked the BJP for having such a thin skin towards any criticism.
"Mr Modi, cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don't try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal," Rahul said in a tweet.
Mr. Modi, Cinema is a deep expression of Tamil culture and language. Don't try to demon-etise Tamil pride by interfering in Mersal— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) October 21, 2017
Haasan asked those opposing the just-released Tamil movie over references to the GST to "counter criticism with logical response".
In a Twitter post, Haasan said: "Mersal was certified. Don't re-censor it. Counter criticism with logical response. Don't silence critics. India will shine when it speaks," he said.
Mersal was certified. Dont re-censor it . Counter criticism with logical response. Dont silence critics. India will shine when it speaks.— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) October 20, 2017
After getting support from prominent personalities, the makers of Mersal showed defiance and did not agree to censor their film at the behest of the BJP.
Although little late, veteran actor Rajinikanth too tweeted in support of Mersal, but he stayed away from criticising the BJP for opposing the film.
Important topic addressed... Well done !!! Congratulations team #Mersal— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) October 22, 2017
Unhappy over failing to "muzzle" Mersal, the BJP decided to target Vijay by attacking his religion.
Truth is bitter pic.twitter.com/woFdxOntRn— H Raja (@HRajaBJP) October 22, 2017
Vijay is a Christian by birth and his full name is Joseph Vijay. However, he uses only his second name, Vijay as a film actor.
The above tweet by H Raja, national secretary of the BJP, along with the actor's voter ID card was done deliberately to bring into focus that since Vijay is a Christian (as his first name Joseph appearing on the ID card suggests) thus he took a critical view on the BJP government, known to be pro-Hindu and anti-minority.
Moreover, in the film there is a dialogue where one of the three characters played by Vijay questioned why there are so many temples instead of hospitals. Raja and other BJP leaders stated that the actor's dialogue has allegedly hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.
First, the BJP showed its aversion towards criticism by raising its demand for removal of scenes from Mersal. Then the BJP, as usual, played its favourite "communal card" by targeting Vijay's religion.
The saffron party did not stop at that, in order to win the Mersal war, the BJP resorted to vendetta politics.
To the astonishment of all, on Monday, offices of Tamil Nadu Producers' Council head and actor Vishal were searched by Income Tax sleuths just a day after he criticised Raja for promoting piracy, as the BJP leader himself revealed that he watched Mersal online.
In the entire Mersal episode, once again the BJP's love for "ban and communal" agendas came into forefront which might prove costly to the saffron party at a time when it is trying hard to make its presence felt in the political space of Tamil Nadu, a state which dearly loves its cinema and politics, of course.