‘800’ trailer: Muthiah Muralidaran’s biopic shows persecution of Sri Lankan Tamils, touches upon many sensitive issues

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Madhurr Mittal as Muthiah Muralidaran in ‘800’

Madhurr Mittal as Muthiah Muralidaran in ‘800’
| Photo Credit: Movie Train Motion Pictures

The trailer of 800, the upcoming biographical movie on the legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Muthiah Muralidaran, was released by the makers today. Directed by MS Sripathy, the film stars Madhurr Mittal as the veteran off-spinner.

The trailer opens up to a news relay on a violent clash between the Tamils in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and the police. We then see glimpses of how a young Sri Lankan Tamil boy with big dreams fights all odds and the discrimination he faces for his Tamil identity to become the pride of the nation. As actor Nassar’s character states, “For someone who hails from a group of immigrant labourers, getting recognised as a citizen itself is difficult. Today, he has grown to a place where the whole nation is looking at him in awe.”

The film also touches upon one of the most difficult phases of Muralidaran’s cricketing career – the ‘illegal bowling action’ controversy that erupted after umpire Darrell Hair no-balled Murali seven times in 1995 during the Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne and later by umpire Ross Emerson in 1996 during Sri Lanka’s ODI against the West Indies. We see Murali take multiple rounds of testing to prove himself, a fight he would be forced to put up throughout his international career.

In an unexpected turn, we also see Murali meet members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the scene with actor Narain seemingly playing a commander of the organisation. We also see the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team in Pakistan, when a convoy of the Sri Lankans were fired upon by gunmen.

The three-minute trailer promises a heart-wrenching story of one of the greatest off-spinners in the world who took 800 Test wickets, 530+ ODI wickets, and made several world records. He is to-date the highest wicket-taker in both Test and ODI formats and averages over six wickets per Test match.

800 has a screenplay written by director Sripathy along with Shehan Karunatilaka. With music scored by Ghibran, the film has cinematography by RD Rajasekar and editing by Praveen KL. The film is produced by Movie Train Motion Pictures and Vivek Rangachari.

It is to be mentioned that 800 was initially announced with actor Vijay Sethupathi set to play the lead role. However, controversy erupted in Tamil Nadu as many political leaders said that the actor should not act in the biopic of a person “who had earlier made comments that were perceived to be in support of the war waged by Sri Lankan forces against LTTE.” Vijay then stepped away from the project after Muralidaran wrote a letter urging him to do so as to not encounter problems in his career in future.

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