Following a tweet that suggested that the cricketer supported the genocide of Eelam Tamil people in Sri Lanka in 2009, social media users took to criticising the actor. For younger filmmakers, this response has them in a headlock, as many feel that politics cannot be removed from art and that social media does not know how to understand nuance.
Although Muralitharan stated that his words had been twisted, Twitter users continued to debate, stating that the movie might support the genocide of Eelam Tamil people in the Sri Lankan war. Many users felt uncomfortable supporting this sentiment, and stated that they would be giving the movie a pass.
“Vijay Sethupathi has very clearly decided to honour the wishes of the Rajapaksa regime and promote their political tool Murali over the political struggle of the Tamil Nation,” said one user, referencing the regime during which these acts were committed. Another user, in a scathing tweet, stated that Sethupathi had lost a fan due to his compliance.
Other users took to requesting Sethupathi to reconsider his decision acting in the film, stating that this would harm his career and fanbase. “Brother, quit from 800 Movie, all the Tamil people across the world is expecting this from you. Make a decision. Controversial works like 800 will record your name in a bad way in history,” said one user.
For aspiring filmmakers in the city, the controversy on Twitter sets an unfortunate precedent for their future works that have political themes. Some feel that social media can take out particular scenes or
comments and twist the meaning, which might affect the film’s performance.
However, some feel that there is no way to remove politics from entertainment, said Pavelnavageethan, director of the film V1Murder Case. “Everything we do, from the food we eat to the way we speak is political. All art is political, and it is impossible to separate the two. Films have the political intentions of the director and scriptwriter and the actors behind it, whether they are intentional or not, and entertainment brings these politics to light,” he said.