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Why Baahubali 2 may not release in Karnataka because of Katappa

Around 2,000 Kannada organisations have called for a ban on the film owing to the comments by actor Sathyaraj on the Cauvery issue. Director SS Rajamouli slammed the ban saying it was 'unfair'. 

Shriram Iyengar

Baahubali: The Conclusion is being awaited as one of the biggest films of the year. However, not all of India shares this opinion. About 2,000 Kannada organisations, led by activist Vatal Nagraj, have launched an agitation demanding that SS Rajamouli's epic film be banned in the state of Karnataka. The protestors said that the ban is a reflection on the actor Sathyaraj's comments on the Cauvery issue. Sathyaraj plays the popular character, Katappa, in the film. 

Speaking to tabloid Bangalore Mirror, Nagraj said, "We will not allow any theatre in Karnataka to screen Bahubali. We are not against the film, but against Sathyaraj who plays the character of Kattappa in Bahubali." 

Sathyaraj had made the comments in September last year when several actors from the Tamil film industry had voiced their anger over the Cauvery issue between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Vatal Nagraj said, "This man’s remarks crossed all decency limits. He spoke nonsense about Karnataka and Kannadigas. We too staged protests against Tamil Nadu, but not against the people." 

Demanding an apology from the actor, Nagraj warned that they will 'storm theatres that may screen the upcoming movie'.

However, director SS Rajamouli has slammed the protests saying it was not right.

Speaking to an online website, Rajamouli said, "The saddest thing is people tend to ignore, tend to think it’s a recent issue. The comment Mr Sathyaraj had made was about nine years ago. From our part, we don’t know details of it, what Mr Sathyaraj actually said because we don’t understand Tamil. we know a little but we don’t know what he actually said, we don’t know what the Kannadigas' objection is. The thing is — the comment was made nine years ago, so many of his films released, at least 30 of his films released during this time, Baahubali Part 1 released. There was no objection at that time. It (the ban) is suddenly out of the blue."

The director also pointed out that it was unfair of the protestors to turn the anger against the actor on to the film. He said, "My thing is that — we are in no way connected with the issue. it’s a very sensitive issue. We don’t know what to talk about that issue, whether our speaking will pacify the matter or instigate the matter in some other way... We don’t know whether keeping quiet is the right thing or talking out is the right thing. We are in a confused state. Main thing is we are in no way concerned with his statement. Sathya is not the director of the film, not the producer of the film, not the main hero of the film, Turning the anger on Sathyaraj towards Baahubali somehow is not right. we feel it’s not right (sic)."

Baahubali: The Conclusion is slated to open in 6,500 screens around the country. The film is scheduled for theatrical release on 28 April.