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Are artists free in India? Rahman & Rajinikanth under fire from fringe groups

Posted in Entertainment

Published on September 18, 2015 with No Comments

Days after businessman Ashok Kheny announced his plan to cast Rajinikanth in his upcoming project based on the life of Tipu Sultan, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS-affiliated groups such as the Hindu Munnani and the Hindu Makkal Katchi in Tamil Nadu have reportedly warned the superstar not to be part of the film. The groups claim that the 18th century ruler of Mysore was ‘anti-Tamil’ and alleged that since Tipu is considered a ‘murderer’, glorifying him through the film will be inappropriate.  In an earlier report, the producer had said that he finalised the film based on Tipu after discussing it with the superstar. “I talked to Rajinikanth before he fell sick. All the films that we talked about were historical and had a conflict between Hindus and Muslims. It was either Muslim king fighting against Hindu king or Hindu king fighting against Muslim king. Then we came across Tipu and we realized that he was the only king with whom Hindus and Muslim supported to fight a foreign king. Then we thought what an idea to make a film on Tipu and no better to star other than Rajinikanth,” said Kheny.  The superstar is currently working on his upcoming film “Kabali”, written and directed by Pa. Ranjith. The film, which also has Radhika Apte, Prakash Raj, Kishore, Kalaiyarasan, Dhansika and Dinesh Ravi in pivotal roles, is said to be a content-oriented subject.


Two icons of Tamil Nadu, AR Rahman and superstar Rajinikanth, have come under attack from political and nonpolitical fringe groups that want a say in their creative pursuits.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants Rajinikanth to reject an offer to work in a film based on Tipu Sultan, music maestro Rahman has been served with a fatwa from a little-known group called Raza Academy for doing music for a film called The Messenger of God.

While Rahman has defended his decision to do the music, which he said he did in good faith and no intention of causing hurt to anyone, Rajinikanth was not available for comment. Sources close to him however said no decision was taken on the film yet.

Civil society dubbed both the incidents as an “attack on freedom of speech and expression” but the film fraternity was cautious and chose to remain tightlipped on the issue.

About the BJP ‘diktat’ to Rajinikanth, former bureaucrat MG Devasahayam said “this only showed the true fascist face of the BJP”.

The party, however, was firm in its view that a patriot and superstar like Rajinikanth should not accept a film that glorified a tyrant who murdered Hindus.





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