Backlash over dialogue in Varane Avashyamund; Dulquer Salmaan, Anoop Sathyan apologise
A misunderstanding about one scene has upset a section of Tamil viewers who have misinterpreted it as an attack on Velupillai Prabhakaran
Following the digital release of Dulquer Salmaan's latest Malayalam film Varane Avashyamund, social media has seen some varied and interesting discussions, especially among Tamil viewers, as a large chunk of the film was shot in Chennai. Some of the responses were not exactly what the makers expected.
A misunderstanding about one scene has upset a section of Tamil viewers who have misinterpreted it as an attack on Velupillai Prabhakaran. One Twitter user has pointed out a scene where Suresh Gopi calls his dog 'Prabhakara', saying that they were "gravely offended" by the "deliberate slander" on their Tamil leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, and demanded an apology from Dulquer and director Anoop Sathyan.
When we reached out to the makers, they said they have been receiving too many abuses on social media which were directed not only at them but also their family members, some of whom are senior actors.
Following this, Dulquer, who is also the producer, put out a statement to clarify the real intention behind the said scene, which is actually a reference to an iconic dialogue from Pattanapravesham, a popular film made by Anoop's father, Sathyan Anthikad. The comical nature of the latter scene, in which Thilakan addresses Karamana Janardhanan Nair as "Prabhakara!" has now become part of Malayali pop culture lexicon. Dulquer has also posted the clip from that film for further clarification.
In this statement, Dulquer wrote, "A lot of people have brought to my notice that the Prabhakaran joke in Varane Avashyamund is insulting to the Tamizh people. It was not intentional. The joke is a reference to an older Malayalam film Pattana Pravesham and is a common Meme in Kerala. It is a common name in Kerala as well so it wasn’t directed at any person living or dead as our disclaimer mentions in the beginning of the film. Most people reacting are doing so without watching the film and are trying to spread hate. Hating on me and my director Anoop we can accept. Kindly keep it to us and not our fathers or senior actors from the film. I apologise to all of the good and kind tamizh people who felt offended. I have never intended to offend anyone through my films or my words. It’s genuinely a misunderstanding.
P.S. Some of you are being extremely abusive, threatening, deliberately hurtful and insulting family along with us. I wish that weren’t so.
Director Anoop too has offered a statement about the controversy. He said, "I was noticing the abusive posts/tags towards us about this particular funny sequence from our film Varane Avashyamund with the name 'Prabhakaran' in it. At first, I thought it's better to ignore the negativity. Then, it got infectious and I believe I should officially make it clear as the writer-director of the film. The sequence is a direct reference from the Malayalam film Pattana Pravesham'. A hilarious scene, which is a common Meme/Sticker/Troll because of its genuine humour. It got NO reference to the LTTE leader Prabhakaran.
As Dulquer mentioned 'Prabhakaran' is a very common middle-aged man's name in Kerala, including few of my close people/relatives. So I was very conscious to make this a harmless-joke too. The film was based in Chennai because of my love for Tamil people and their culture. So I apologise to all of those who got hurt because of the misleading posts.
To the abusers/troublemakers: I have travelled in Northern Srilanka, post-war including Jaffna, Killinochi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya etc... I personally have heard about their struggles and I do empathise with them. I made many Tamil friends in Srilanka!
Please watch Varane Avashyamund, with a lighter heart now! There is nothing offensive; just positive and heart-warming things. In-fact some online-reviewers blame me for being positive."