Chennai, Nov 24 Tamil Nadu Thursday banned the screening of “Dam 999″ due to widespread protests against the film that is seen as taking a pro-Kerala stand in the Mullaperiyar Dam case pending in the Supreme Court.
“‘Dam 999′, the movie that creates a fear among the public about the Mullaperiyar Dam, is banned from being screened in Tamil Nadu,” said a terse statement by Chief Secretary Deberanath Sarangi.
Political parties in Tamil Nadu — the DMK, MDMK, PMK and others — had voiced their opposition to the screening in the state of the controversial movie which was set for release Friday.
The government’s decision comes a day after Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to advise the Kerala government “not to venture upon a new dam” and also not to whip up a sense of fear among the public about the safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam.
The Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association Wednesday declared that the movie will not be screened by its members.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar Dam, built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British administration.
The dam, located in Kerala’s Idukki district, serves Tamil Nadu, which is demanding that its height be raised from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.
Kerala, however, is seeking construction of a new dam, saying the existing structure has outlived its life.
On Wednesday, DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi said the controversial movie should not be released at a time when the two states were fighting over the Mullaperiyar Dam.
He claimed that at a time when a case was pending in the Supreme Court about Mullaperiyar Dam, the film has been produced with a hidden agenda.
While the Supreme Court in February 2006 gave its order in favour of Tamil Nadu to raise the storage levels to 142 ft, the Kerala government in March that year passed a law effectively nullifying the judgment.
Opposing the Kerala law, Tamil Nadu had filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2006.
“Dam 999″ with the central theme of the bursting of a dam has raised a controversy in Tamil Nadu, resulting in demand for banning the movie.
MDMK chief Vaiko alleged that the movie refers to the 999-year lease of the Mullaperiyar Dam.
The film’s director Sohan Roy, who had earlier made a documentary on the Mullaperiyar Dam with the theme that disaster was waiting to happen, denied his movie had anything to do with Mullaperiyar Dam.
Shot in Kerala, Ooty in Tamil Nadu and Dubai, the movie is made in English and is dubbed in Tamil, Hindi, Telugu and Malayalam.