A Sri Lankan movie, portraying the post-war travails in the island-nation, was on Saturday taken off screens after cinemas running the film allegedly received threat calls from pro-Tamil nationalist groups. The producers of the movie, ‘With You, Without You’ (Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka), an Indo-Sri Lankan collaboration directed by noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, have now written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seeking her intervention to put the movie back on the screens.
“The film is a sensitive portrayal of post-war Sri Lanka and the consequences of denial of justice to the Tamil population. Instead of supporting the widest possible exhibition of this film in India, we are today witnessing the opposite and all because some stray people have decided without seeing the film that it is inimical to Tamil interest,” the letter read, seeking police protection for the film’s screening.
Speaking to The Hindu over the phone, Rahul Roy, one of the producers, said the Sinhala-Tamil bilingual film was released in two cinemas in Chennai on June 20. The very next day, the exhibitors received threat calls from groups. “We (producers) were informed that the matter was taken to the local police but there was no support. Hence, we have written to the Chief Minister seeking her intervention,” Mr. Roy said. Shiladitya Bhora of PVR Cinemas tweeted that the shows were being discontinued due to threats from local Tamil associations. However, sources close to the other movie hall said shows were cancelled “voluntarily” due to lack of patronage. Police sources, on the other hand, said they had not received any formal complaint from the producers or the exhibitors.
The film deals with the consequences of the civil war through a poignant love story between a Tamil girl and a Sinhala ex-Army man. Mr. Roy said the film has a strong Indian connection. The lead female character has been essayed by Anjali Patil and the editing of the film was handled by A. Sreekar Prasad, a national award winning film editor.