Cauvery Issue

Kattappa killed Baahubali. He apologises to ensure that he doesn’t kill the sequel too

Until Tamil actor Sathyaraj apologised for his remarks on the Cauvery issue, the makers of ‘Baahubali 2’ feared they would pay the price in Karnataka.

Why Kattappa killed Baahubali is no longer the mind-numbing riddle for fans of SS Rajamouli’s epic fantasy adventure. That question, until Friday, was replaced with a tougher one: would Tamil actor Sathyaraj, who plays the abject warrior in the fictional Mahishmathi kingdom in Baahubali, apologise for his remarks on the Cauvery river issue?

The April 28 release of the sequel, Baahubali 2, had run into trouble in Karnataka over the veteran actor’s remarks in 2008 on the sharing of the Cauvery river waters. The festering dispute over the 800-kilometre-long Cauvery river, which originates in Karnataka, has riven the film industries of both states for years. Actors and filmmakers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have frequently participated in protests and made statements supporting the stand of their respective governments.

In his fiery speech made during a protest that was attended by Tamil film celebrities, including Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, Sathyaraj roundly condemned Karnataka’s demands and declared that Tamilians should not stand mute like a tree on which a dog urinates.

The Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha, led by Vatal Nagaraj, has called for a Bengaluru bandh on April 28. The shutdown has the support of the official bodies of the Kannada film industry. In a previous protest meeting organised by the Nadigar Sangam, which represents Tamil actors, Sathyaraj had called Vatal Nagaraj a comedian.

On Friday afternoon, ANI reported that Satyaraj had apologise for his remarks.

But before this, NM Suresh, secretary of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, told Scroll.in, “Sathyaraaj has made cheap comments about Karnataka and Kannadigas. We are not bothered if it is an old video, it resurfaced three months back. It is a fact and it has hurt us. We have always given solid support to Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films in Karnataka. They have all enjoyed good business here. The same cannot be said about Kannada films in neighbouring states.”

The Kannadiga activists claimed that the state’s exhibitors were also on their side. “We are not against Rajamouli, we respect him but we want Sathyaraj to apologise,” Suresh said. “He does not have to come here, he can do it on Facebook too. It is a question of our prestige.”

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is one of the year’s most hotly anticipated movies and the solo release on April 28. The combined budget is pegged at Rs 450 crore. Baahubali 2 is set to releases on 6,500 screens in India and on 650 screens in the United States alone. It has been made simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil and dubbed in Malayalam and Hindi.

Rajamouli was worried enough about the potential loss of business in Karnataka to release a video in which he spoke in Kannada and pleaded with protestors to allow his labour of love to be released in the state. Delinking his mega-budget film from Sathyaraj’s views, Rajamouli said, “His work in the movie and what he said are not related. It was his personal opinion. He is not the producer of the movie… If you stop the screening of this movie, please understand that Sathyaraj will not be affected in any way. The people who will be affected are the ones who worked on the film over the last five years – the technicians, the crew, the producers, and the Karnataka distributors; not to mention all the movie lovers who appreciate good cinema.”

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SS Rajamouli’s video appeal.

By not releasing Baahubali 2 in Karnataka, the state’s distributors and exhibitors could have faced losses running into crores. “The film was being offered to distributors at rates higher than Rs 45 crore,” said Ramu, a veteran producer of action films. “It is all about business for Rajamouli, finally. The film will not be released in theatres here unless Sathyaraj comes to Bengaluru and apologises to Kannadigas.”

Flared tempers over Cauvery water sharing and riverine projects have singed even Rajinikanth, who was born in Bengaluru. In 2008, the Tamil star was forced to apologise to Karnataka for supporting the proposed Hogenakkal drinking water project in Dharmapuri, which uses Tamil Nadu’s share of the Cauvery river. Rajinikanth had to buy peace to ensure that his movie Kuselan was released in Karnataka.

Sathyaraj and director Bharathiraaja had criticised Rajinikanth’s apology at the time, claiming that rather than capitulating, he should have compensated his producers and distributors for the film’s non-release.

Tamil film personalities have even swallowed losses to their own productions over the issue. In September 2016, protests followed a Supreme Court order to Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Tamil film industry associations enforced a day-long bandh, damaging the prospects of local releases.

Although the ire of the Kannadiga activists was directed at Sathyaraj, members of the Telugu film fraternity are nervous that other releases will be affected too. Karnataka is an important territory for Telugu cinema, said Rajkumar Akella, head of the anti-piracy cell at the Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce. Karnataka contributes 10-15% more revenue for Telugu films than Tamil Nadu, and Telugu stars such as Mahesh Babu, Pawan Kalyan and Nagarjuna have a sizable fan following there, Akella said.

An equally big headache for Arka Mediaworks, the Bahubaali franchise’s producer, is piracy. The movie is being released in new overseas territories such as East Asia, and it has been subtitled in multiple foreign languages. The greater a film’s exposure, the greater the chances of intellectual theft, which is why Arka Mediaworks is working with the Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit, private anti-piracy companies around the country, and an in-house anti-piracy unit to ensure that the film isn’t ripped and uploaded on pirate sites.

“The challenge this time is because it has such a widespread release and leaks can happen anywhere,” Akella said. A John Doe order against piracy obtained from courts before the release of the first film will continue to be effective for the concluding part of Bahubaali too.

But before the pirates, it’s Kattappa whom Rajamouli was worried about. “Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali” was a question that had now morphed into, “Did Kattappa kill Baahubali 2”?

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Ten awesome TV shows to get over your post-GoT blues

With those withdrawal symptoms kicking in, all you need is a good rebound show.

Hangovers tend to have a debilitating effect on various human faculties, but a timely cure can ease that hollow feeling generally felt in the pit of the stomach. The Game of Thrones Season 7 finale has left us with that similar empty feeling, worsened by an official statement on the 16-month-long wait to witness The Great War. That indeed is a long time away from our friends Dany, Jon, Queen C and even sweet, sweet Podrick. While nothing can quite replace the frosty thrill of Game of Thrones, here’s a list of awesome shows, several having won multiple Emmy awards, that are sure to vanquish those nasty withdrawal symptoms:

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2. Westworld

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3. Big Little Lies

It’s a distinct possibility that your first impressions of this show, whether you form those from the trailer or opening sequence, will make you think this is just another sun-kissed and glossy Californian drama. Until, the dark theme of BLL descends like an eerie mist, that is. With the serious acting chops of Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as leads, this murder mystery is one of a kind. Adapted from author Liane Moriarty’s book, this female-led show has received accolades for shattering the one-dimensional portrayal of women on TV. Despite the stellar star cast, this Emmy-nominated show wasn’t easy to make. You should watch Big Little Lies if only for Reese Witherspoon’s long struggle to get it off the ground.

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4. The Night of

The Night Of is one of the few crime dramas featuring South Asians without resorting to tired stereotypes. It’s the kind of show that will keep you in its grip with its mysterious plotline, have you rooting for its characters and leave you devastated and furious. While the narrative revolves around a murder and the mystery that surrounds it, its undertones raises questions on racial, class and courtroom politics. If you’re a fan of True Detective or Law & Order and are looking for something serious and thoughtful, look no further than this series of critical acclaim.

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At its heart, Empire is a simple show about a family business. It just so happens that this family business is a bit different from the sort you are probably accustomed to, because this business entails running a record label, managing artistes and when push comes to shove, dealing with rivals in a permanent sort of manner. Empire treads some unique ground as a fairly violent show that also happens to be a musical. Lead actors Taraji P Henson and Terrence Howard certainly make it worth your while to visit this universe, but it’s the constantly evolving interpersonal relations and bevy of cameo appearances that’ll make you stay. If you’re a fan of hip hop, you’ll enjoy a peek into the world that makes it happen. Hey, even if you aren’t one, you might just grow fond of rap and hip hop.

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When everything else fails, it’s comforting to know that the family will always be there to lift your spirits and keep you chuckling. And by the family we mean the Dunphys, Pritchetts and Tuckers, obviously. Modern Family portrays the hues of familial bonds with an honesty that most family shows would gloss over. Eight seasons in, the show’s characters like Gloria and Phil Dunphy have taken on legendary proportions in their fans’ minds as they navigate their relationships with relentless bumbling humour. If you’re tired of irritating one-liners or shows that try too hard, a Modern Family marathon is in order. This multiple-Emmy-winning sitcom is worth revisiting, especially since the brand new season 9 premiers on 28th September 2017.

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8. The Deuce

Headlined by James Franco and Maggi Gyllenhaal, The Deuce is not just about the dazzle of the 1970s, with the hippest New York crowd dancing to disco in gloriously flamboyant outfits. What it IS about is the city’s nooks and crannies that contain its underbelly thriving on a drug epidemic. The series portrays the harsh reality of New York city in the 70s following the legalisation of the porn industry intertwined with the turbulence caused by mob violence. You’ll be hooked if you are a fan of The Wire and American Hustle, but keep in mind it’s grimmer and grittier. The Deuce offers a turbulent ride which will leave you wanting more.

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9. Dexter

In case you’re feeling vengeful, you can always get the spite out of your system vicariously by watching Dexter, our favourite serial killer. This vigilante killer doesn’t hide behind a mask or a costume, but sneaks around like a criminal, targeting the bad guys that have slipped through the justice system. From its premier in 2006 to its series finale in 2013, the Emmy-nominated Michael C Hall, as Dexter, has kept fans in awe of the scientific precision in which he conducts his kills. For those who haven’t seen the show, the opening credits give an accurate glimpse of how captivating the next 45 minutes will be. If it’s been a while since you watched in awe as the opening credits rolled, maybe you should revisit the world’s most loved psychopath for nostalgia’s sake.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.