(MENAFN- Live Mint) "The producers unveiled the first look of the much-talked-about Muttiah Muralitharan biopic 800 on 17 April 2023, which coincided with the Sri Lankan cricketer's birthday. Madhur Mittal is stepping into the lead role previously slated for Vijay Sethupathi. Let's find out why the Jawan star is not a part of this movie anymore.Originally, this highly-anticipated project was set to star Sethupathi and was going to be produced under Rana Daggubati's banner, Suresh Productions, with MS Sripathy as the director. However, the production faced numerous roadblocks and controversies.Also Read: Katrina Kaif, Vijay Sethupathi-starrer 'Merry Christmas' to release on 15 DecemberThe film first sparked social media uproar after the release of its motion poster during a 2020 IPL match. It found itself at the centre of a political storm. The criticism mainly revolved around Sethupathi, who faced enormous backlash for agreeing to portray Muralitharan. Critics and netizens accused Muralitharan of supporting the Rajapaksa government and objected to a Tamil actor depicting a Sri Lankan.Adding fuel to the controversy, politicians from Tamil Nadu and Dravidian outfits in Coimbatore also weighed in, urging Sethupathi to abandon the role. They cited the alleged involvement of Muralitharan in supporting the Sinhalese during the Sri Lankan Civil War and recalled the tragic events of the war, during which more than 200,000 Sri Lankan Tamils were reportedly killed.Vijay Sethupathi asked to pull out of the filmMuralitharan himself intervened amid the uproar, strongly denying claims that he had supported the killing of innocent civilians. Despite these denials, the tension failed to ease. The cricket legend then requested Sethupathi to pull out of the project. Eventually, the film did not proceed as initially planned.“I know that due to misunderstandings about myself, some are placing immense pressure on actor Vijay Sethupathi to withdraw from the '800' film, and I do not wish for an outstanding artist in Tamil Nadu to be affected by me. Also taking into account that there should be no unnecessary obstacles in Vijay Sethupathi's future artistic career, I request him to withdraw from this film (sic),” Tamil Guardian quoted Muralitharan as saying in an open letter, which had been shared by the actor on social media.Eventually, Madhur Mittal, who was a part of the Oscar-winning film 'Slumdog Millionaire', was roped in to take over the lead role. Earlier in September, Sachin Tendulkar unveiled the trailer of the movie, written and directed by MS Sripathy. The biopic will be released in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu on October 6.
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