The Sohan Roy film, Dam999 is banned in Tamil Nadu fearing a riot between Tamilians and Malayalees
Dam999 is rumoured to be based on the Mullaperiyar dam issue is a sore topic between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In order to maintain peace and order, the state government of Tamil Nadu banned screenings of the film with immediate effect. It is alleged that the movie is funded by Keralites and hence will portray a pro-Kerala stand in the Mullaperiyar dam case pending in the Supreme Court. 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 then British administration. The dam, located in Kerala’s Idukki district, serves Tamil Nadu, which is demanding that its height be raised from 136ft (41.5m) to 142ft (43m) 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. As per the makers, the story of Dam999 revolves around a 100-year-old dam built by the British during their colonial days in India and life of nine characters and their emotions. The director clarifies that the film is an emotional thriller based on many real life incidents and has nothing to do with the Mullaperiyar dam. In fact, the tagline of the movie also reads, ‘Dam 999 is a tribute to the 1975 Banqiao dam disaster in China that claimed 250,000 innocent lives’. Yet on Wednesday, political parties in Tamil Nadu – the DMK, MDMK, PMK and others voiced their opposition to the screening in the state. Amidst all the controversy, the film seems to be getting its much wanted publicity. Let’s hope if not in Tamil Nadu, the film has a peaceful screening in the rest of the country.