Makers of former Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan’s biopic ‘800’, unveiled the first look of its lead actor Vijay Sethupathi in the titular role.
‘800’, a fast-paced and funny biopic, is touted to be a moving portrayal of Muralitharan -- one of cricket's most brilliant and divisive characters.
Muralitharan as the only cricketer to have taken 800 wickets in Test cricket; hence the name.
As the poster made rounds on social media, scores of netizens, especially fans of the Tamil actor, slammed the idea of Vijay essaying the role of a Sri Lankan and began trending the hashtag #ShameOnVijaySethupathi on Twitter.
The argument of these netizens is based on the fact that the Sri Lankan government predominantly ruled by the Sinhalese is known historically for oppressing the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Fans of the actor believe it is disgraceful for a Tamil actor to play the role of a Sinhalese cricketer.
One user wrote, "Total Disgrace Tamil movie viewers Slamming an actor for having srilankan flag on his jersey. He is playing #MuralidaranBiopic how can he wear and srilankan jersey and have Indian flag in it. Totally dumb people. #ShameOnVijaySethupathi"
"We don't want to see a Tamil carrying our enemy's identity #ShameOnVijaySethupathi" added another.
Here are some more reactions on the microblogging site.
Sethupathi is a very talented actor and will nail the bowling expressions in my biopic, Muralitharan told IANS.
"Once the script was ready, we thought the best fit for this movie is non-other than Vijay Sethupathi," said Muralitharan while speaking on Star Sports show Cricket Live.
"I think he is a very talented actor and he will nail the bowling expressions. I trust Vijay completely as he is one of the greatest actors and I have complete faith that he'll definitely do wonders for the film."
Speaking about Muralitharan, Sethupathi said, "It's really nice to listen to his story and spend time with Murali sir. He is like a stamp; he makes a mark wherever he goes with his charming character and personality."
"I love his real life, because fans have seen him in matches on the field, but very few have got a chance to know Murli sir's personality off the field. He's very adorable and lovable. He's such a beautiful person and his story needs to be told," he added.
The film will be shot in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia and India. The shoot is slated to start at the beginning of 2021 and is set to release at the end of next year.
It will be made primarily in Tamil language. However, owing to Muralitharan and Sethupathi's popularity, the film will also be dubbed in all South Indian languages as well as Hindi, Bengali and Sinhalese. An international version with English subtitles is also being planned.
With inputs from IANS