AR Murugadoss has been asked to issue an unconditional apology for criticising the welfare schemes of the Tamil Nadu Government in the director’s recently released Sarkar. The director applied for anticipatory bail and was promptly granted the same by the Madras HC earlier this month. The case came up for hearing again today. The original bail was granted till November 27.
According to a spokesperson for the Sarkar team, the State Prosecutor has asked for a written undertaking from AR Murugadoss that he would not criticise the State Government’s policies in his films. The prosecutor has also asked for an unconditional apology from AR Murugadoss for criticising the welfare schemes of the Government.
A spokesperson for the director told Silverscreen that there would be no apology as no offence has been committed. “What had Murugadoss done to apologise? He is an artist who exercised his right to free speech. His rights are guaranteed by the Indian constitution. The charges levelled against him are baseless.”
Murugadoss is not willing to give an undertaking that he would refrain from criticism of the State’s policies, the spokesperson added. “As a writer and director, Murugadoss is free to question the system and the state government. It is our right as citizens of the country. The government cannot police what is said and done onscreen. That is morally and legally wrong,” he said.
The director will fight the case in court, the Sarkar team said. “Such incidents are just a way of prolonging the case. This should have been over today and instead they are purposely delaying it,” the spokesperson said.
Sarkar, with Vijay, Keerthi Suresh and Varalaxmi Sarathkumar in lead roles, featured scenes in which people were shown throwing and burning grinders, mixies and television sets. These items are said to have been given as freebies to the people by the Government. This scene references the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s flagship scheme through which they distributed household items to the people of Tamil Nadu, following their electoral victory in 2011.
The scenes proved to be controversial as cadres of AIADMK targeted theatres screening the film. Posters of the film were torn down by supporters who asked for removal of the scenes from the film. After frantic negotiations, the scenes were removed.
Murugadoss was forced to apply for anticipatory bail fearing imminent arrest, as several complaints had been lodged against him.