Kaala Director Pa Ranjith Granted Anticipatory Bail Over Remark on Chola Emperor

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Ranjith was slapped with charges of promoting enmity between groups for his 'controversial' speech about Rajaraja Cholan on June 11.

Chennai: Director Pa Ranjith, who has delivered back-to-back hits like 'Kabali' and 'Kaala' starring Rajinikanth, was granted a conditional anticipatory bail by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday in a case of controversial speech about Chola King.

The Court in its order said the director should not make any controversial statements in the future that would promote enmity between groups and if he does, the lower court can stay his anticipatory bail and take necessary action.

Ranjith was slapped with charges of promoting enmity between groups for his 'controversial' speech about Rajaraja Cholan on June 11.

In a caustic remark against the king, Ranjith said it was during the era of the famed Cholan rule that lands of the oppressed communities were systemically appropriated. Ranjith also said there was a race currently going on among castes in Tamil Nadu to claim the legacy of Cholan.

Ranjith made the comments while delivering a speech at Thirupanandal in Thanjavur district, following which a complaint was lodged by Hindu Makkal Katchi. "In this regard, we registered a case against the director under relevant sections," a police source said.

Rajaraja I was a Cholan emperor from present day south India, who ruled over the Cholan kingdom of medieval Tamil Nadu, parts of northern India, two-thirds of Sri Lankan territory, Maldives and parts of East Asia, between 985 and 1014 CE.

Ranjith is a Dalit activist and through his films, he has openly highlighted the troubles of those living on the economic societal fringes. 'Kabali' was about the life of Malaysian Tamils oppressed by Chinese hegemonic forces.

'Kaala' talked about how land was an instrument to power in Dharavi. His film 'Pariyerum Perumal' speaks of the casteist society we live in, showing a young Dalit law student being humiliated for his caste identity and his friendship with a 'savarna' woman.

Ranjith has frequently raised his voice against real life caste atrocities. Last year, in an interview with News Minute, Ranjith said that he wants to make films on forgotten heroes, narrate stories that don't catch the eye of the mainstream. His Bollywood film is going to be on tribal leader Birsa Munda who fought the British in pre-Independence India.