A legal notice worth 5 crore in damages has been issued against the makers of the Tamil film 'Jai Bhim' for alleged defamatory depiction of the Vanniyar community in Tamil Nadu. The Vanniyar Sangam State President has accused actor Suriya and director T.J.Gnanavel of deliberately inserting symbolism of the Vanniyar community and changing the name of a villainous character to one resembling a Vanniyar name in order to portray the community in a bad light.
"Our client states that you have retained the real names of the real characters in the real incident in the movie … But deliberately you have changed the name of the sub-inspector. In the real story, the sub-inspector who is involved in the custodial death of the under trial was called Anthonysamy, who was Christian by religion," the notice says, as quoted by The News Minute.
The filmmakers had, with "malafide intention of defaming the members of the Vanniyar Sangam and damaging the image and reputation of the entire Vanniyar community," inserted an image of the sacred "agni-kalasam" symbol the community uses, into the scene in question, the Sangam alleged.
The controversy has grown since the statements made by former Union Health Minister and founder of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, which had accused the filmmakers of deliberately insulting the Vanniyar community. Actor Suriya issued a formal statement last week denying all allegations and stating that the film had attempted to remain true to the characters and incidents it was based on.
"The core concept of Jai Bhim is how, in a case argued by the retired Justice Chandru, a legal struggle was waged against the authorities to help establish justice. We have also attempted to talk about the problems that indigenous people face in their everyday lives..."Let us all continue in our respective paths for equality and brotherhood to grow," the actor said.
Others named in the notice are actor Jyotika, who is also Suriya's wife, 2D Entertainment Private Limited (Suriya and Jyotika's production house) and a representative of Amazon.in.