Pro-Kannada outfits today called off their protest against the release of “Baahubali 2” after actor Sathyaraj expressed regret over his controversial remarks made during the Cauvery row nine years ago.
“We accept the regret expressed by Sathyaraj and have decided to drop our protests. We have also withdrawn the call for Bengaluru bandh on April 28,” Vatal Nagaraj, who was spearheading “Kannada Okoota”, an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies, told reporters here.
The announcement comes a day after Sathyaraj, who plays the role of Kattappa in the movie, apologised.
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The decision by the outfits paves the way for the release of the second part of the epic fantasy, which the outfits had threatened to stall if their demand of an “unconditional apology” from Sathyaraj was not met.
The controversy began after a video, in which Sathyaraj made the alleged anti-Kannada comments in the context of the Cauvery river water row, surfaced a fortnight ago and went viral.
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are locked in a bitter row over the sharing of Cauvery waters. Nagaraj said the Kannada outfits had no grouse against director S S Rajamouli or the film, but were “outraged over cheap comments” made against Kannadigas and the state by Sathyaraj. He said since Sathyaraj had expressed regret, they did not want to press the issue or stretch the protest any further. Nagaraj, however, warned that if Sathyaraj tried to provoke Kannadigas again, his movies will not be allowed to release in Karnataka.
Nagaraj said there were reports that Kannada films were not being allowed to be screened in Tamil Nadu. “If these reports are true, we will stop the screening of Tamil films and Tamil TV channels,” he said. Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President and Kannada activist Sa Ra Govindu said he had verified with the South Indian film chamber about reports that Kannada films were not being allowed to be screened in Tamil Nadu and he was told that they were not correct.
Rajamouli had also made a video appeal, saying the film should not be dragged into the matter as the comments were made nine years ago.