The first look poster of Sarkar which featured Thalapathy Vijay smoking a cigarette has landed the team in deep legal trouble. It has become a much-publicized controversy with the poster first earning the wrath of politician Anbumani Ramadoss of PMK. The Tamil Nadu Public Health Department then issued notices to Vijay, director AR Murugadoss and producers Sun Pictures. The poster was immediately taken off from their official Twitter handles.
On Monday, an anti-tobacco activist named S Cyril Alexander approached the Madras High Court to direct the actor, director, and the production house to pay Rs 10 crores each to the cancer block of the Royapettah Government Hospital in Chennai. He claimed that the smoking poster was in clear violation of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act 2003.
Amidst all this heat, T Rajendar (in a press conference to announce his new film) and his son STR (in a video statement) have spoken out regarding this issue. Both of them have expressed that cinema should be left aside and not be repeatedly targeted by politicians.
"There are smoking scenes in most of the films and we carry them with statutory warnings. What's there in a poster? Why is Vijay's film specifically being targeted? Is it because he is a Tamizhan? I feel it's all just a publicity stunt. If Vijay or my own son STR smoke publicly in the presence of their fans, I'll definitely question them. In this case, I'll stand by my cinema fraternity. We are continuously being targeted. It will serve the youth of the state better if products like cigarettes and 'pan' are completed banned," T Rajendar said.
Meanwhile, his son STR too backed him up. "Be it Baba then or Sarkar now, films are constantly being targeted by politicians. I feel cinema should be left aside. I'm ready to represent the cinema fraternity and sit and debate with Anbumani Ramadoss sir, in the presence of the public. Such a discussion will be the right forum to talk this out," STR said.