When Mohanlal agreed to do a cameo in Priyadarshan's action film "Tezz", perhaps he didn't know what he was getting himself, and the film's makers, into. Now that the film is set for release, there are apprehensions that the actor's staunch fan following would take umbrage at their icon's abbreviated part.
Signs of swelling dissent are already evident. The first promotional trailer of "Tezz" has Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor in spotlight, while Mohanlal is seen fleetingly.
This has evoked protest all over micro-blogging sites, creating a mild panic situation in the production team, says a source.
"We never expected this kind of an uproar. Mohanlal has a cameo in 'Tezz', and that's how he was shown in the first promo...in fleeting shots! But the uproar from his fans in the south on Facebook and Twitter has taken the producers by surprise. New trailers are now being planned where Mohanlal will be as prominent as Ajay," said the source.
Incidentally, this is not the first time Devgn has been compelled to share poster space with Mohanlal. In Ram Gopal Varma's "Company", the same north-south divide had transpired.
"Tezz" producer Ratan Jain admits to being taken aback by the uproar.
"Frankly we didn't expect this. We didn't mean to undermine Mohanlalji's stature at all. He sportingly agreed to play a cameo part because of his proximity to Priyadarshan. The heroes of our film are Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor. But if Mohanlalji's fans are upset, we've to do something about it," Jain said.
"We're taking care of the situation. The next promo will feature Mohanlalji prominently."
An interesting sidelight to the Mohanlal-Devgn poster war is that "Tezz" was meant to be pitched as Devgn's next action film after "Singham".
But now with the Mohanlal fans demanding attention to him in the promotional footage, it would be difficult to hightlight the action aspect in the plot.
"We're looking into it. We need to be fair to all our actors," said Jain.