Actor Ajith’s Interview
He’s in the thick of a controversy that is threatening to split the Tamil film industry. The police and security guards have formed a cordon around his house and film unions are demanding apologies from him, but actor Ajith Kumar maintains that he only spoke his mind. On February 6, he asked chief minister M Karunanidhi to put an end to stars being forced to appear in public to show support for political agitations. The actor opens up in an interview with Ajith Kumar.
Q. When you spoke out, was it because you had been manipulated? Was it the result of personal suffering?
It was not a prepared speech, but a spur-of-the-moment thing. It came from the bottom of my heart. I have not said anything wrong. I have only expressed the truth and whatever is happening now validates my speech that the industry is being held to ransom by a handful of people.
Q.When actors and sports icons are created by society. Don’t you think they owe it to society to take a stand on social and political issues?
It is debatable that only celebrities owe society. Every citizen owes society. But when there is a sensitive political issue, we always have a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. When there is a political issue, we owe it to the government and the agencies concerned to sort it out. I have a great regard for our political system, and I only hope that the political leaders empathise with the film fraternity.
Q.Why can’t a star freely express an opinion on an issue?
There is one group that feels there is a need for stars to come out and endorse issues, but there is another group that says it is not a star’s business. We are caught in the crossfire. When an actor wants to take a bigger step and enter politics actively, he is prevented, even ridiculed. If you think stars should not enter politics or territories not familiar to them, you should not expect them to endorse social issues.Why is his nativity and loyalty to the land questioned? If you have a million people following a star and if he has a voice that is heard, and he wants to take a bigger step, why stop him?
Q.Do you think nativity is an issue here?
It is becoming so everywhere. When a fan buys a ticket for a movie or a cricket match, he does not question who is sitting next to him, his colour, creed or religion. That is the power of the arts. It binds people of an entire nation. So bringing in a communal flavour is appalling. Look at the fan base of any actor or sportsman. Fans are from different regions, strata and language groups but they are united by the sport or the cinema.
Q.Speaking of cinema, would you play the role of a suicide bomber or a Naxal?
After what has happened in the past few days, I do not feel like facing the camera again. There is not much creative freedom for artistes. If you say an actor should not smoke on screen because he can influence a generation, agreed. But if that same actor wants to enter politics and influence a generation, people ask, ‘What is your business here?’
Q.But you have signed your 50th film…
Yes. I have given a commitment to producer Dayanidhi Alagiri, which I will honour. But the one thing I want to do after my nativity became an issue is to get back to motor sports and do India proud. My entry for F2 has been accepted and I will be participating in the eight-country European circuit from April to October. The state should be proud that eight of the 10 top motorsports persons are from Tamil Nadu. Apart from Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok — both of whom will hopefully make it to F1, we also have Armaan Ebrahim, Parthiva Sureshwaren, myself, Aditya Patel and Ashwin Sundar in various categories. Among the bikers, we have V Naren Kumar, Preetam Dev Moses and Dileep Rogers. I hope the sport gets more sponsorship. I also wish Chennai would have a street motorsport rally, like the ones abroad.