The film is a biopic of Muttiah Muralitharan and Sethupati essays the central role of the legendary Sri Lanka spinner. Fans are upset that the actor took up the role of the Tamil-origin cricketer who never spoke out against the alleged atrocities that the Sri Lankan government is said to have inflicted on the country's Tamil population in the past. Netizens used the hashtag #ShameOnVijaySethupati to convey their anger and disappointment.
"Always admired Vijay Sethupathi as an actor. But now he shattered respect I had on him now by making this traitor's life history who openly supported modern day dictator Rajapaksa. Murali himself said 2009 was his happiest year of his life #ShameOnVijaySethupati (sic)," wrote one user on Twitter.
"The Sinhala government has massacred two lakh Tamils in Eelam. There is no other proof than this that #VijaySethupathi cannot feel this pain! #ShameOnVijaySethupathi #Tamils_Boycott_VijaySeth"pathi," wrote another user.
"I strongly condemn #VijaySethupathi for accepting this movie," tweeted another user.
"Can a biopic of #Afridi can be made in India and get support from Indians? #ShameOnVijay"ethupathi," shared another.
"#ShameOnVijaySethupathi...Murali is a Tamilian but he represents Sri Lanka & Sri Lankans. We have lot of cricketing legends in our country then why making Sri Lankan player biopic (sic)," reacted a user.
'800' is touted to be a moving portrayal of Muralitharan -- one of cricket's most brilliant and divisive characters. The film will be shot in Sri Lanka, UK, Australia and India. The shoot is slated to start at the beginning of 2021 and is set to release at the end of next year.
Meanwhile fans of the actor cameup in support of him with a trending hashtag "#WeSupportVijaySethupathi ".
They strongly condemned the haters saying its all about the 'Gentleman's' game and not about politics.
One of the fan tweeted, "It's just a movie about a Cricket legend. Who ever triggered this unwanted controversy. Remember this is just a start. #800TheMovie is going to a BB. Stop making an unwanted controversy out of this.. "
The fans who are unnerved by the negative trolls, said "His Job is only in Entertaining People by his movies & He's doing his work perfectly. Stop Blaming him like SHIT. He's a GEM for Tamil Cinema. #MakkalSelvan"
Eventually, the twitter is seen trending from Anti-Vijay Sethupathi trend to Pro Vijay Sethupathi, for the past 2 days, ever since the motion picture was launched.
The film will be made primarily in Tamil language. However, owing to Muralitharan and Sethupathi's popularity, the film will also be dubbed in all South Indian languages as well as Hindi, Bengali and Sinhalese. An international version with English subtitles is also being planned.
Muralitharan is the only cricketer to have taken 800 wickets in Test cricket. Besides, he also picked up 534 and 13 wickets respectively in 350 ODIs and 12 T20Is.
(with inputs from IANS)