Bangalore, July 31 (IANS) Activists here Wednesday vowed to block the release of the forthcoming Rajnikanth-starrer 'Kuselan' in Karnataka, saying the Tamil superstar should apologise for his 'anti-Kannadiga' statements.
The threat comes days after the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) had given its nod for the film's release in the state.
On Monday, Rajnikanth had written a letter to KFCC president and actress Jayamala to ensure that his film got a release in Karnataka Aug 1, along with its launch in Tamil Nadu. He had clarified that he had never intended to hurt the sentiments of Kannadigas.
Terming the superstar's letter just a publicity stunt, former legislators Vatal Nagaraj and Prabhakara Reddy at a press conference here asked Rajnikanth to come out with a public apology.
'We will not allow the release of the film in Karnataka, come what may,' said Nagaraj, who addressed reporters along with many leaders of pro-Kannada organisations including a faction of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.
Some Kannada organisations had been demanding that 'Kuselan' be released in the state only after a seven-week moratorium as Rajnikanth had allegedly hurt the sentiments of Kannadigas by supporting Tamil Nadu on a row over a drinking water project in Hogenekkal, on the border between the two states.
The superstar had joined the Tamil film fraternity in a daylong protest fast in April against Karnataka's objections to the Rs.13.3 billion Hogenekkal project that is expected to benefit about three million people in two Tamil Nadu districts.
Karnataka is opposed to the project, saying its share of the Cauvery river waters will be affected.
The actor, in his letter to Jayamala, had stressed that he had never intended to hurt the feelings of Kannadigas by speaking at the rally. He also added that he did not want his fans in Krantaka to miss out on his film.
Said Nagaraj: 'This is not an apology letter. It is just an eye wash, an attempt by Rajnikanth to ensure his film gets released without any problems. The fact is that Rajnikanth, who was born and brought up in Karnataka, has acted against the interests of the state by stating that Tamil Nadu has the right to take up the Hogenakal project.'
Added Narayana Gowda, president of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike: 'We wanted an apology from Rajnikanth. He should call a media conference and announce that he regrets what he spoke at the rally in Chennai.'
However, the KFCC is confident that 'Kuselan' will be released as scheduled.
'The threat of protests was there even during the release of Rajnikanth's previous film 'Sivaji' and even Kamal Haasan's 'Dasavathaaram'. But both films were released without any problems. We are sure that 'Kuselan' would also be released on Aug 1,' said a KFCC official.