Madras Cafe Not to Release in Tamil Nadu

Madras Cafe Not to Release in Tamil Nadu

John Abraham starrer Bollywood film Madras Cafe, which has run into protests from students and political parties in Tamil Nadu over alleged portrayal of LTTE in bad light, would not hit screens in Tamil Nadu tomorrow, a body of exhibitors said today.

The spy thriller, slated for nationwide release tomorrow, would not be screened in the state, a spokesperson of the Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association told PTI tonight.

"The film will not be released in Tamil Nadu," was the cryptic remark by the spokesperson.

The decision has apparently been taken in view of strident stand taken by several pro-Tamil groups and political parties, including BJP, against the film, in which Abraham dons the role of an Indian intelligence agent in Sri Lanka during the war between the island government and LTTE in late 1980s and early 90s.

The move was anticipated as prominent cinema halls in the city did not open advance reservation of tickets.

Madras Cafe, Abraham's second production venture, courted controversy with pro-Tamil groups up in arms for its depiction of outlawed LTTE allegedly in a negative light.

The producers, who have been maintaining that the film did not offend anyone, arranged for a special screening for the groups, but the latter stuck to their stand.

Student organisations, who have come out against the film, staged a protest for the second successive today, opposing its release alleging that it distorted facts.

Madras Cafe is the second film in recent days to miss its release date in the state after Vijay starrer Thalaiva, whose screening was delayed following threats by some groups.

Earlier this year, Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam too met a similar fate after Muslim organisations objected to it before the actor brokered peace.

Undeterred, Abraham has refused to delete any scene from his film, wondering why anyone had a problem when the Censor Board had cleared it.

In a statement in Mumbai yesterday, he said, "I would like to urge all of Chennai to support 'Madras Cafe' as a film and allow it to release (as per schedule). It is a credible film made with a lot of heart and gives audiences something novel to be entertained about, vouching and encouraging cinema."

BJP has demanded that the film be not screened anywhere in the country. It also further asked Congress to respond to "opinions" that the film had its backing and sought a national ban against it, warning of "unwanted consequences" subsequent to its release.

The film "demeaned" Tamils by portraying them as terrorists while supporting Sri Lanka, BJP's state unit President Pon Radhakrishnan had said.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi had urged the state government to ascertain if such charges were true and take appropriate action.

MDMK chief Vaiko and Naam Thamizhar Katchi leader Seeman have already sought a ban on the film.

Naam Thamizhar Katchi had in July lodged a petition with police, demanding that the film not be released in the state, citing possible law and order problems.

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