Days after Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in Tamil Nadu demanded the muting of scenes critical of the government’s policies in Mersal, lead actor Vijay has spoken out on the issue. The movie star thanked his fans and the film industry in a press note signed ‘C Joseph Vijay’.

Mersal has gotten a great response and has been hugely successful, but the film has also faced a bit of opposition,” Vijay said in the press note, which bore his full name and ‘Jesus Saves’ in bold letters. “As a reply to that, actors and technicians from my industry and the North Indian film fraternity, the Nadigar Sangam, national and state-level politicians, the media, my fans and friends extended a great support to me and my film during this tough time.”

The actor’s religion was called out by BJP leader H Raja, who alleged that Vijay’s Christian faith was the reason behind a sequence in Mersal, which stresses the need for hospitals over temples. Members of the Indian Medical Association in Tamil Nadu protested against the film’s depiction of medicinal malpractices by sharing pirated links of the film on social media. Further, a public interest litigation was filed against Mersal in the Madras High Court, pleading for its censor certificate to be revoked. Despite the controversies (or perhaps boosted by them), Atlee’s movie has earned over Rs 100 crore since its release on October 18.

“I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the people who supported me and my film,” the actor signed off in the press note.