Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV), the outfit which had taken cudgels against the superstar several times in the past, is determined to block the film’s release, demanding a public apology from him for his comments on the Hogenekkal water issue in April.
KRV has raised the issue all over again and has submitted a memo to the Karnataka film chamber.“Rajnikanth’s films attract huge crowds, and are a big box office draw, however, we are confident of sorting out the issue in the next couple of days,” ‘Rockline’ Venkatesh, vice president of Karnataka Film Chamber told The Times Of India.
In April, the Tamil film industry staged a day-long fast, protesting Karnataka’s opposition to the Hogenekkal drinking water project and the attack on theatres screening Tamil films in the state. Speaking at the function, Rajnikanth had come down heavily on Karnataka.
Warning Karnataka not to politicise the issue, Rajnikanth had said Karnataka should not test “our patience” by not letting us draw water from our own land.”
KRV demanded an apology from Rajnikanth, failing which it threatened to bar his films. At that time, the actor clarified that what he said was applicable to anyone obstructing sharing of waters, regardless of their statehood. Although he expressed regret if he hurt the sentiments of anyone, Rajnikanth also reportedly added, “If my films do not release there, it is not a problem for me.” According to Venkatesh, the chamber is in touch with Rajnikanth to settle the issue amicably. ‘Kuselan’, being produced in Tamil and Telugu, is a remake of Malayalam film ‘Katha Parayumbol’.
Filmdom in both the states have been in the forefront of struggles whenever there has been a riparian dispute. During the Cauvery dispute as also the Hogenakkal tussle, Rajnikanth’s stance was keenly followed by people on either side of the divide. Born in Maharashtra, Rajnikanth had worked as a bus conductor in Karnataka before coming to Chennai to pursue a career in acting. Whenever protests spill over to the streets, cinema halls screening Tamil movies in Karnataka have been regularly targeted.