For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Chris Kamalendran
An unidentified group has called on theatre owners in Batticaloa to refrain from screening movies produced in Tamil Nadu in a move to hit back at Indian film stars who boycotted the recent IIFA awards ceremony in Colombo.
The group in Sinhala and Tamil hand bills sent to cinema owners has told them to stop the screening of South Indian movies from Friday till the end of this month. The hand bill says the boycott by the Indian artistes of the IIFA event had brought disrepute to Sri Lanka and therefore such a retaliation was just and appropriate.
On Thursday an unidentified group torched the giant screen at the Shanthi cinema, a day before the Tamil version of the movie Raavan (Raavanan) was screened. The movie’s main stars Abishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and its director Mani Ratnam were among those who did not attend the IIFA ceremony in Colombo.
Shanthi cinema manager Kandasamy Murugesu said three people came to his cinema on Monday and told him he should not show films from Tamil Nadu.“I informed the Kattankudi police and three days later there was an arson attack,” he said.
The manager said he would not bow to this threat and would screen films produced in Tamil Nadu. He said he hoped to get police protection.