Cinema seems to have become a soft target once again in Karnataka over political issues. After Baahubali 2, Rajinikanth's Kaala has landed in political trouble with the pro-Karnataka groups opposing the release of the Tamil flick over the superstar's recent comment on the Cauvery issue.
Speaking to International Business Times, Vatal Nagaraj, president of Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha, said, "We will not allow the release of Kaala in Karnataka. Rajinikanth's stand is unacceptable to us. He is against Kannadigas. So, we won't allow the release of his film." Many other pro-Kannada groups have echoed the same views.
Rajinikanth, who has forayed into politics, has demanded the centre to form the Cauvery management board. "The Cauvery Management Board should be formed as soon as possible. If the Centre does not do that, it may face the wrath of entire Tamil Nadu," he had said in a silent protest organised by Nadigar Sangam in April.
The threat over the release of Kaala in Karnataka cannot be ignored as the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) is in support of the stand taken by the pro-Kannada groups.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Sa Ra Govindu, the President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, has said that the Kannadigas are upset with Rajinikanth over his comments. He has made a request to the theatres and distributors to not associate with the Rajinikanth-starrer.
"I am not doing this as president of KFCC, but as an activist and a proud citizen of Karnataka. For me, the state comes first and friendship next. We are proud of Rajinikanth, who is from Karnatka and has grown to great heights. We would watch his films for his entertaining performances though it was made in another language. But not anymore," the daily quotes him as saying.
He added that the KFCC has received over 10 letters from pro-Kannada groups saying that the movie should not be released in the state. He claims that Rajinikanth's way of handling the issues through diplomatic ways have changed after he joined politics.
"As an actor, he always handled issues on Cauvery in a diplomatic way. But when he entered politics and formed a party, he made a direct attack on us, which has not gone down well with Karnataka. It is a question of our prestige and we want to keep our word. We will not allow his film to be released here," Govindu said.
This is not the first time where Rajinikanth has been targeted by pro-Kannada groups over Cauvery issue. At a protest organised by the Nadigar Sangam in 2008, he had made a controversial remark against the protestors in Karnataka and allegedly said that the "goondas" should be kicked.
The Kannada outfits threatened to stall the release of the film and the issue was solved only after he lent his apology.
Likewise, Sathyaraj's comment over Cauvery had come back to haunt him last year during the release of Baahubali 2.