Actor Sathyaraj has been forced to issue an apology for the statements he made during the Cauvery issue nine years ago. In a video released to the media, the actor read from a press statement:
“Nine years ago, the Tamil film industry had joined together for a good cause. At the time, the Cauvery issue was raging and Tamil people had been mistreated and physically abused in Karnataka. Moreover, they’d stopped the release of Tamil films in that State. Following this, the Tamil film industry held a protest meeting at which many film stars participated.I was one among the many stars who spoke vehemently and aggressively in support of the Tamil cause. The very next day, my effigies were burnt in Karnataka. After this, the Kannada stars held a protest meeting in which they spoke aggressively about the issue. At this time, I came to know that some statements I’d made had hurt the sentiments of the Kannada people. I want to make something clear: I have never been against the Kannada people. Thirty of my films have released in Karnataka. Many times, they’ve asked me to be a part of Kannada films. I refused only because I did not have any dates to allocate for the projects.
A video of the event from nine years ago has become popular again now. Some people have watched the video now, and have become offended by the statements I made and the words I used. For the words I used and the way I spoke about the issue, I offer my sincerely apologies to the Kannada people.
I am a very small part of the very big film that is Baahubali. The words and actions of one man should not stop the release of a film that involves great effort from thousands of artists. I request the people of Karnataka to accept my apology and make sure that the film releases on April 28. Furthermore, I request that the distributors who bought the rights of Baahubali 2 in Karnataka, the theatre owners who decide to screen the film, are in no way subjected to any abuse or mistreatment. I look at this as my responsibility and will do anything to safeguard it.
But, I would like to say that I will continue to voice my support for any good Tamil cause, whether it be the Eelam issue, the Cauvery issue or the issue of the TN farmers. I will not let this experience deter me from doing whatever it is I can to help things out.
Meanwhile, if any director or producer feels that employing Sathyaraj for a film is a risk, then I humbly request them to not take that risk. Please do not sign a small, normal actor like Sathyaraj for your films. Please avoid any loss by taking me on for your films. Instead of living and dying as an actor, I want to be a true Tamilian.
I would like to ask the Kannada people to accept my apology, and help in ensuring the smooth release of Baahubali 2.
I would like to thank the Nadigar Sangam, the TFPC for their wholehearted and unending support during this issue. I would also like to thank director SS Rajamouli, producer Shobu, Prasad for their support during this issue.”
Nine years ago, Sathyaraj, who was at an event to protest the mistreatment of Tamil men and women in Karnataka during the Cauvery issue, had said:
“Tamils should not be like a tree which stands silently as any dog comes and urinates on it.”
Former MLA Vattal Nagaraj, who took offence to the statement just when Baahubali 2 was set to release, masterminded the protest in Karnataka against the film. Sathyaraj was then given eight days to apologise.