If you take one look at Vijay Sethupathi’s face in the motion poster for the Tamil film 800, you’ll know that the actor can easily pull off off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan’s look, complete with a French beard, smile and curly hair. But can he get the ace bowler’s style? Isn’t that what he’s truly famous for?
Muralitharan is a Sri Lankan Tamil and his identity is as important as his career. Though Muralitharan is a Tamilian and married to a woman who hails from Tamil Nadu, he has supported the Sri Lankan government through his speeches and the stances he has taken. Naturally, this hasn’t gone down well with the people in Tamil Nadu.
Vijay Sethupathi, who plays Muralitharan, has always portrayed himself as a progressive humanist and spoken against divisive policies. And so, a section of people on Twitter has been condemning the actor for taking up the project, because the person whose biopic it is has never spoken for the cause of Tamils in his nation. 800 (refers to the wickets that Muralitharan has taken in test matches) won’t be just another sports drama for this very reason, and the actor, who spoke against Hindutva at an audio launch earlier this year, will don the cap of a pro-government person. Reverse swing?
The poster also throws the spotlight on Muralitharan’s growing up years amid the strife in Sri Lanka, the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, and the chucking charge that the bowler had to fight. The movie, which will be directed by MS Sripathy, will also be dubbed in Sinhalese and other Indian languages.