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Tamil director receives death threats for urging Vijay Sethupathi to snub Murali biopic

A Tamil director has requested for ‘urgent’ protection for his life after claiming he received several life threatening messages for asking Vijay Sethupathi to opt out of the controversial Muttiah Muralitharan biopic ‘800’. 

Seenu Ramasamy, who worked with Vijay Sethupathi in the Tamil films ‘Dharma Durai’ and ‘Thenmerku Paruvakaatru, insisted that his life was “in danger” and took to Twitter to call for Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister to offer him some sort of security.

Ramasamy tweeted on Wednesday, “I feel that my life is in danger. Chief Minister [ayya]’s help is needed. Urgent.”

Ramasamy stated that he will be filing a complaint with Chennai police and felt ‘intimidated’ by the messages he has so far received and was ‘unable to open Whatsapp’ following the bombardment of threatening messages. He was regarded as Sethupathi’s close mentor and requested the actor not to be a part of the film following the worldwide backlash.

Vijay Sethupathi’s daughter also received rape threats via social media following the first look release of the biopic, with the individual responsible being arrested following several complaints.

Tamil across the world expressed their objection to the biopic using the hashtag #ShameonVijaySethupathi. Voices across Tamil Nadu and the Tamil film industry such as the ‘All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’ political party, Veteran Kollywood director Bharathiraja, and Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu have also asked to bring the film to a halt, fearing that it would commemorate a man who supports war criminals.

Vijay Sethupathi dropped the project after Muralitharan asked him to pull out of the film in order to “avoid any problems to his acting career”.

Muralitharan, although ethnically Tamil, has conspired with multiple Sinhala extremists and active war criminals on multiple occasions and even backed Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency last year. Murali previously stated that he “did not have any problems as a Tamil”, and even claimed that former British prime minister David Cameron had been “misled” over reports of rights abuses faced by Tamils. He has also compared war crimes accused Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya's older brother and former president, to Nelson Mandela.

In 2013, Tamils in the North-East criticised the cricketer, with the Councillor P Sritharan of the Chaavakachcheri Urban Council stating,

“Perhaps, Muralitharan was playing cricket overseas when the Tamil people in the North were suffering and scores of young men and women disappeared. He has hurt the feelings of the Tamil people, grieving the loss of their loved ones, by undermining their struggles.”

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