Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth, his son-in-law and producer K Dhanush, and daughter Aishwarya have filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court against a ban on the release of Pa Ranjith’s film Kaala in the state. The film, starring Rajinikanth, is scheduled to release internationally on June 7.

On May 29, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce had decided not to screen Kaala after several local organisations demanded a ban on the film over Rajinikanth’s comments on the sharing of Cauvery water between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

On May 20, Rajinikanth had told reporters that it was Karnataka’s duty to obey the orders of the Supreme Court on sharing the river’s water. On May 3, the top court had directed Karnataka to release at least 2 tmcft of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. In response to his remarks, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had asked Rajinikanth to come and check the reservoir levels. “Water is not sufficient,” the chief minister had said.

The petition against the ban on Kaala has named the government, home department, state police chief, Bengaluru city police commissioner, Central Board of Film Certification and Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce as respondents, PTI reported. “The Central Board of Film Certification has issued a certification under Section 5B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, for the release of Kaala after following due process and adhering to all guidelines,” the petition said. The plea, which is likely to be heard later on Tuesday, has also requested for additional security at theatres in Karnataka.

Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce President Sa Ra Govindu said the ban on the film will continue to remain. “Neither will he [Rajinikanth] apologise for his statement nor are we going to pardon him,” Govindu told NDTV.

Reactions to the ban

Rajinikanth’s film industry colleague Kamal Haasan had distanced himself from the matter, while insisting that the Cauvery water-sharing matter was more important. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had met Haasan in Bengaluru on Monday to discuss sharing Cauvery river water. Haasan is the leader of the Makkal Needhi Maiam party.

Haasan had said the meeting was not about films and that there was a film chamber to look into the matter.

Actor Prakash Raj, however, has opposed the ban. “What’s film #Kaala got to do with Cauvery matter?” Raj tweeted.