Asuran fame Teejay Arunasalam reveals he rejected younger Muttiah Muralitharan role in 800
A film that has caused major uproar is the recently-announced 'Makkal Selvan' Vijay Sethupathi starrer, 800, the biopic on Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan. The first look, including the motion poster of the film were released on Tuesday, with the film since running into massive controversy as people on social media have been calling for a boycott against the film, while also urging Vijay Sethupathi to opt out of acting in the project. People on social media have been raising their opposition against 800 stating that Muttiah is a supporter of the Sri Lankan government, which crushed the LTTE (Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam), including being accused of genocide against the Tamil people.
The makers of 800, Movie Train Motion Picture and Dar Pictures, have since issued a clarification on the film saying it does not make any political statement favoring any community and is being made with the intention to be an inspiration for the younger generation by telling the story of the journey of a man hailing from the Tamil migrant community and eventually going on to become the highest wicket taker of all time. Legendary Tamil film director Bharathiraja too on Thursday issued a statement requesting Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw from acting in the film.
Having said that, it has now been revealed that popular singer turned actor Teejay Arunasalam of Asuran fame was approached to play the younger version of Muttiah Muralitharan in 800 when he was in India. Speaking to Times of India, Teejay said that he didn't sign up for the film as he did not wish to get involved with the film's politics. He stated that he had met director MS Sripathy at his office and was given a general outline of the story in bits. Teejay added that his mother was an Eelam Tamil and the war depicted in the biopic between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamils did not sound right to him. As a result, he informed the filmmaker that he wouldn't be able to come on board the project.
Teejay, who went on to reap praises for his fiery performance in Asuran, also said that opting out of 800 was a difficult decision as he has a lot of respect and admiration for Vijay Sethupathi. He revealed that he had interacted with the actor in the past and had been appreciated for his performance in Asuran, while also being told to be careful about the roles that would come his way. The backlash against 800 has turned out to be strong on social media as many have been trending the hashtag #ShameonVijaySethupathi, while a large section of the actor's fans too have stepped to the front in support saying that the film should not be viewed from a political perspective.
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