Dulquer Salmaan's film Varane Avashyamundu again goes into trouble.
The film is now being slammed as many Tamil viewers have misinterpreted the naming of a dog in the film as Prabhakaran, as a deliberate attempt to insult the LTTE chief.
Dulquer Salmaan's Varane Avashyamund released a few days ago on Netflix. Though the film was a blockbuster in Kerala and also enjoyed a good run in the Chennai box-office, it has been plagued by controversy ever since its OTT release. First,a woman journalist accused the makers of fat-shaming her by using her photographs without her consent. The controversy died down after Dulquer and the film's director, Anoop Sathyan, apologized to her.
However, the film is now being slammed as many Tamil viewers have misinterpreted the naming of a dog in the film as Prabhakaran, as a deliberate attempt to insult the LTTE chief.
Dulquer Salmaan, who has also produced the film, clarified that the joke has nothing to do with the LTTE leader but is a reference to a famous dialogue from the iconic Malayalam comedy Pattanapravesham. The 1988 film was directed by Anoop's father Sathyan Anthikad, and Varane Avashyamund, in fact, has several references to old Malayalam films.
In Pattanapravesham, Karamana Janardhanan Nair played the character of Prabakaran who is an old friend of Ananthan Nambiar (Thilakan). Both men are criminals. The 1988 film starred Mohanlal, Sreenivasan and Thilakan among others and all the characters including Ananthan Nambiar and Prabhakaran became iconic in Malayalam cinema.
In Varane Avashyamund, Suresh Gopi plays Major Unnikrishnan, an ex-army man who has anger management issues. When he's advised to get a pet to deal with his problems, he picks an aggressive-looking Dobermann and calls it 'Prabhakaran' in the same tone used by the villain in Pattanapravesham.
The controversy snowballed on social media after people dug up Dulquer's old promo post that read: “What is the funniest dog name you have heard? Ours is definitely Prabhakaran. Here’s a scene from #VaraneAvashyamund."
Apart from abusing Dulquer and Anoop, those who misinterpreted the character also began trending hashtags like #ThatDogIsMammootty, in an attempt to ‘teach Dulquer a lesson’. Dulquer is Malayalam superstar Mammootty's son.
Although the makers have explained the context in which the name appears, Dulquer has tendered an apology to all those who were offended by the joke. Dulquer also posted a short clip of the scene from Pattanapravesham to prove his point.
In addition to this, director Anoop Sathyan also posted on his Facebook page that the sequence in his movie was a direct reference from Pattanapravesham and was not a reference to the LTTE leader Prabakaran.
“A hilarious scene, which is a common Meme/Sticker/Troll because of its genuine humor.
"It got NO reference to the LTTE leader Prabhakaran". As Dulquer mentioned, 'Prabhakaran' is a very common middle-aged man's name in Kerala, including few of my close people/relatives. So I was very conscious to make this a harmless-joke too,” Anoop posted.
Some viewers have even gone to the Wikipedia page of Pattanapravesham and concluded that the name Prabhakaran Thampi is a derogatory reference to the Tamil people, 'thambi' being a commonly used label to stereotype Tamilians. However, 'Thampi' is also a caste name in Kerala and the character of Prabhakaran in Pattanapravesham is that of a Malayali.
Ironically, Anoop Sathyan in his earlier interviews had said that he was keen to set Varane in Chennai because of his love for the city, and the fact that his father, Sathyan Anthikad, had made many of his famous films there. Pattanapravesham as well as the first film in the comedy trilogy, Nadodikattu, have substantial portions set in Chennai.
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