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Political parties in South India call for a boycott of Sharjah-based director Sohan Roy's Dam999

A Sharjah-based film director, whose debut feature is all set to release on Thursday in the UAE, is causing quite a stir in South India.

Dam999, a $10 million (Dh 36.7200 million) 3D action drama directed by Sohan Roy, has been boycotted by two political parties in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The parties have taken offence to the depiction of a dam's collapse, which they say is a reference to the controversial Mullaiperiyar dam in Kerala. The film is scheduled to release across India a day after its UAE release.

Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which share borders and also use of the 115-year-old dam, have been stuck in a legal wrangle over its use and ownership.

Roy, who was in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, on Tuesday for a press conference to promote the film, told tabloid! protesters had stalled the event and broken doors and furniture at the venue.

"They were acting unruly and demanding for the film to be banned across the country, which is not going to happen," he said over the phone.

A long time resident of the UAE and a marine engineer by trade, Roy, who is also the CEO of Marine Biz TV, self-funded his debut film, based on a cause he said he is passionate about: old dams and the threat they pose to people.

Dam999 is however based in a fictional South Indian town where a 100-year-old dam is threatening to burst, affecting the lives of its central characters and also millions of people who live by it. The film's cast include critically acclaimed Indian actors and National Award-winners Ashish Vidhyarthi and Rajit Kapur. A number of western actors complete the multicultural storyline.

"In a way I am glad they have created such a commotion, because this means people will be talking about the issue," said Roy of the controversy his film has generated. "When I was in Chennai, that was all the TV channels were talking about and debating. We need to spread the message about how dangerous these dams are. I'm glad the discussions have started." 

  • Dam 999 releases in cinemas across the UAE on Thursday