Theatre owners in south Indian state Tamil Nadu on Wednesday decided not to screen controversial movie ‘Dam 999‘, saying it was against the interests of the state, after political parties, including DMK, raised the pitch against its release.
The decision came as the film generated considerable heat in political circles, with DMK, MDMK and PMK calling for its ban, contending that it was based on the Mullaperiyar dam, over which Tamil Nadu and Kerala have a long standing dispute.
“The film justifies breaking of the (Mullaperiyar) dam (since the plot revolves around the collapse of a dam). It is against interests of Tamil Nadu. We have decided not to screen the film to express our concerns,” Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners’ Association general secretary R Panneerselvam.
The 116-year old dam, located in Iddukki district of Kerala, is under the Tamil Nadu Government control and meets the irrigation needs of farmers in southern districts.
Citing safety concerns, Kerala has proposed construction of a new dam to replace the old structure, but Tamil Nadu has been opposing it, saying it would affect the state’s interest.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi said in a statement today that if the film was released in the state, it would affect cordial ties between people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and pose a law and order problem.
“Considering this, it becomes imperative that the release of the film should be avoided in the state,” he said.
Karunanidhi said while the Mullaperiyar dam issue remained unresolved for many years, some people have made the film giving it a “motivated title”, an apparent reference to the 999 year rights held by Tamil Nadu over Mullaperiyar dam.
MDMK chief Vaiko has said the film, financed by Keralites, starring Indian and Hollywood actors and directed by Sohan Roy has been named ‘Dam 999‘, referring to the legal rights held by Tamil Nadu over the dam for 999 years.
He warned of protests in theatres if the film was released. MDMK workers were yesterday arrested after they staged a protest outside a preview theatre in the city where a screening of the movie had been arranged, besides damaging the the film roll.
Protests against Dam 999
On Tuesday, Prasad Labs in Vadapalani wore a war like look when a group claiming to be MDMK sympathizers created a ruckus over the screening of the controversial film Dam 999 which is about the Mullai Periyar issue which is a bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The men entered the premises raising slogans against the film and smashed the glass panes of the lab building within a fraction of second. Though few staff over there tried to prevent them damaging their premises, they were in no mood to listen.The huge entrance gate was shut down and locked the securities did not allow anyone from outside entering the lab and vice versa.
Incidentally, there was only a media gathering arranged at the Prasad Lab Theater with the director of the film Sohan Roy addressing the crowd and not screening of Dam 999 as misconceived by the MDMK protestors.
They also went ahead and took the negatives of a Telugu film (reportedly Mohan Babu’s film) from the lab misconstruing it for Dam 999’s negatives.