Metrolife: Rajini’s politics blocks Kaala

Metrolife: Rajini’s politics blocks Kaala

Kaala comes from Pa Ranjith, who directed Madras and Kabaali. It is produced by Dhanush.

Rajinikanth’s mega-budget film ‘Kaala’ is unlikely to come to Bengaluru on June 7, as slated earlier.

Sa Ra Govindu, president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC), says, “Exhibitors, distributors and producers want to protest against Rajinikanth’s anti-Karnataka statements on the Cauvery dispute.”
The movie star has joined the Tamil Nadu chorus for the setting up of a Cauvery water management board. Karnataka feels that will allow a third party to control its dams, and is opposing the idea.
The KFCC had called a meeting of exhibitors and distributors who Govindu says “have voluntarily decided not to release the film keeping in mind the interests of the people of Karnataka.”

Kannada organisations had also urged the KFCC against the release, Govindu told Metrolife.

Karnataka has 800 standalone theatres and 180 multiplex screens mostly in Bengaluru.

M Narasimalu, secretary of the Karnataka Film Exhibitors Federation, says, “Rajnikanth has been around for decades but it is only after he entered politics that he has made a statement against Karnataka in the Cauvery dispute. We want to register our protest.”  He fears a “backlash” if the film is released.

Jayanna N, distributor and producer, says ‘Kaala’ is ‘99 per cent’ unlikely to hit the screens in Karnataka. “He has always been balancing his stand on the Cauvery issue. This is the first time he has said something against Karnataka, and as an artist that is wrong. What about his fans in Karnataka?,” he says.

Tamil Sangam neutral

Many Tamil organisations, including the Bangalore Tamil Sangam in Halasuru, are neutral.

T V Damodaran, president of the Sangam, says, “We stand by whatever decision is taken by the government of Karnataka. We live in Karnataka and respect the laws of this place.”

View from Chennai

L Suresh, president of the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, says the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce has passed no resolution against the Rajinikanth film.

“Being the parent body, we are of the opinion that politics is different and business is different. And that’s what we are trying to impress upon them,” he told Metrolife. He has already called Sa Ra Govindu of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. “Whether it is a Rajini film or Kamal film or an X, Y or Z film, we would like to see it is released. Otherwise many theatres will be out of business,” he says.

What’s it about?

Kaala tells the story of Karikaalan, a Tamil who becomes a don in the slums of Dharavi. Director Pa Ranjith, who also made Kabaali with Rajinikanth, has denied the film is a biopic of Haji Mastan, a gangster with a similar background. The name of the film is a reference to Yama, the god of death, Ranjith says.