Tha Se Gnanavel, director of Suriya-starrer ‘Jai Bhim’, on Sunday said there was absolutely no intention of hurting any particular community through his film.
‘Jai Bhim’ had kicked up a row in Tamil Nadu with the Vanniyar Sangam and members of the community alleging that it had portrayed the community in bad light.
Emphasising that there was not even a “wee little bit of thought to cause affront to any individual or a community,” in the making of the film, Gnanavel said, “I convey my heartfelt regret to those offended and anguished.”
The director also expressed regret for the difficulty caused to Suriya in the wake of the controversy. Suriya is also the producer of the movie.
The Vanniyar community members were offended because one of the negative characters in the was named ‘Guru’ (Gurumurthy) and a calender shown in one of the scenes showed a fire pot which is the symbol of the community.
“I did not know that a calendar hung in the background will be understood as a reference to a community. It is not our intention to make it a symbol of reference to a particular community and it was only to reflect the period, the year 1995,” Gnanavel claimed in a statement.
During filming or post-production, the calendar footage that appears for a few seconds did not catch their attention, he said.
Also, even before the film was premiered on Amazon Prime, it was exhibited for several people. “Had it come to our notice during that time, we would have changed it before its release.” After they “got to know about the calendar in the background through social media,” all efforts were made to change it, he said.
“As the calendar in the background was changed even before anyone demanded it, I believed that everyone will understand that we had no ulterior motive,” the director said.
“It is unfortunate to ask Suriya to own up responsibility. As the director, this is a matter I alone has to take responsibility.”
The film, though based on a true incident of custodial torture and death of a ‘Koravar’ tribal man in 1995 in Tamil Nadu, had elements of fiction.
The Vanniyar Sangam had, on November 15, sent a legal notice to makers ‘Jai Bhim’ alleging that the flick tarnished the reputation of Vanniyar community and sought an unconditional apology from them.