'I request him to step aside since he should not face unnecessary hurdles in his career in future.'
Tamil actor Vijay Sethupathi opted out of Muttiah Muralitharan's biopic '800' following a request from the Sri Lankan spin legend, who said he didn't want the actor to face any 'unnecessary hurdles in his career'.
The actor has been under tremendous pressure from some quarters to withdraw from the biopic project, the iconic cricketer said in a statement.
"I don't like an outstanding artist from Tamil Nadu to be affected because of me. I request him to step aside since he should not face unnecessary hurdles in his career in future," Muralitharan said on Monday.
Tagging the cricketer's statement on his twitter handle, Sethupathi said, 'Nandri (Thanks).. Vankkam.'
Asked on his 'thanks' tweet, the actor confirmed that it meant him opting out of the movie.
"It's all over and that is the meaning," he said.
Muralitharan said obstacles were nothing new and he was not tired of it, adding all his achievements became a reality only after overcoming them.
The legendary sportsman said he agreed to a biopic on him as it would give enthusiasm and determination to future generations in addition to young cricketers and such an initiative too has confronted impediments.
Expressing confidence that hurdles would be overcome, he said the producers have assured him that an announcement could be expected soon, apparently indicating that another actor shall be picked to reprise his career.
He thanked those who stood by him and the Tamil people in this regard.
Tamil Nadu's ruling AIADMK had said the actor should reconsider his decision to be a part of the movie.
The actor's proposal to play the lead role also became a matter of heated debate on social media.
Parties, including the MDMK, PMK and veteran Tamil filmmaker Bharathirajaa were among those who had urged the actor to disassociate from the biopic.
They had alleged that Muralitharan was a betrayer of the Tamil people and supported the then Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the 2009 civil war.
The cricketer responded saying he never supported the killings of innocent people and would never do that.
He expressed anguish over him being accused as against the Tamils and asserted that it was for political reasons and out of ignorance.
Dar Motion Pictures, the producers, has said '800' is only a sports biography movie and it does not make any political statement.