Chennai: Actor-politician Rajinikanth -- whose new movie "Kaala" is facing opposition from pro-Kannada groups -- has appealed to Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to provide security at theatres that wished to screen the film as it releases nationwide tomorrow. Several pro-Kannada groups have threatened to stall the movie if it is screened despite an earlier ban on it by the Karnataka Film Chambers of Commerce. A huge section of the film fraternity in the state has admitted to being hugely upset by the superstar's remarks on Cauvery water row.
A request for security was also part of Tuesday's court order, which left room for theatres to screen the movie if they wanted. The state government has assured the court it would be done. But Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, while saying he would comply with the court's order, suggested "as an individual" that the timing wasn't right for the film's release.
In his message, Rajinikanth said, "I understand HD Kumaraswamy's situation. This is not good for Karnataka. When the film is released around the world, the Karnataka ban would highlight the issue (Cauvery water dispute)".
He added an appeal to the state film chambers in Kannada, asking them to allow the release of the movie. "The Film Chambers is supposed to ensure that there's no problem for distributors. It is not right that the Karnataka Film Chamber demands Kaala ban," Rajinikanth said.
Last month, after the Congress government of Siddaramaiah was voted out of power in Karnataka, Rajinikanth reportedly said whichever government comes to power, Karnataka should release Cauvery waters for Tamil Nadu. Mr Kumaraswamy had responded by asking Rajinikanth to visit the state and see the condition of farmers and the water level in the dams, before commenting on the matter.
It was, however, not Rajinikanth but another actor-politician from Tamil Nadu who took the initiative. On Monday, Kamal Haasan went to Bengaluru to meet Mr Kumaraswamy and discuss Cauvery issue, over which the two neighbouring states have been at loggerheads for decades.
After the hour-long meeting, which happened to be a first on the issue between political leaders of two states, Mr Haasan said he saw "hope".
Rajinikanth has showed support for Mr Haasan's move. Suggesting that the talks should continue, he said, "They (Mr Haasan and Mr Kumaraswamy) are not enemies... it (Cauvery issue) can be resolved through talks as well... even big things have been resolved through talks," he had said.