Karnataka film distributors and exhibitors have decided not to screen Rajinikanth-starrer KAALA in theatres across the state to protest the superstar's stand on the Cauvery river water row with Tamil Nadu, said a Kannada film industry official on Tuesday.
"In view of the public outrage over Rajinikanth's recent remarks on the setting up of a Cauvery Management Board, distributors and exhibitors have decided not to screen any version his movie KAALA in any theatre in the state, and we welcome it," Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) President Sa Ra Govindu told IANS here.
Clarifying that the Kannada film industry was not against Rajinikanth, who hails from Bengaluru, Govindu said there was no ban on the new Tamil film.
But the fraternity had decided to support the decision not to screen it to avoid precipitating the issue and respect public sentiment against his views on the inter-state river water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he said.
"Though the distributors and exhibitors would have invested a lot in buying the rights of the film months before its release, we appreciate their decision not to screen it in the largest public interest and to maintain peace in the state," said Govindu.
The film has been dubbed in Telugu and Hindi for an all-India release on June 7 and its trailer has received over 2 million hits and views already.
Many pro-Kannada organisations have also urged the KFCC to prevent the film's release in the state, especially in Bengaluru, which has a sizeable Tamil population, as Rajinikanth's political stand on the Cauvery issue was against Karnataka's interest.
They have been making calls to boycott films of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan, another Tamil superstar, in the state ever since they began airing their views on the Cauvery issue in favour of Tamil Nadu.
"We will not allow release of any old or new films of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan until they apologize and withdraw their remarks, which are against our interests in the sharing of the Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu and other states," Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha President Vatal Nagaraj told reporters here.