The Nadigar Sangam’s decision to hold a fast today has been heavily criticised. Soon after Nasser announced the one-day fast, social media users began trending the hashtag #SayNoToNadigarSangam on Twitter and Facebook.
Actor Silambarasan, who joined the Marina protest earlier this week, criticised the Nadigar Sangam’s move. Vijay too has chosen to stay away from the protest to avoid stealing the limelight.
Kamal Haasan asked actors to avoid attending the protests. He said, “Students are conducting this protest in peaceful and organised manner. Actors have no place in it. Please do not attend these protests. When you do, you are allowing your celebrity status and fame to overshadow the true cause here.”
Meanwhile, John, a student who was one of the first to join the Marina Protest, told Silverscreen, “If the actors really want to do something good for our cause, they should join us. Instead of sitting under the shade, they should join the protests of the common man like Ragava Lawrence and STR.”
The wide variety of arrangements made to facilitate the event came under severe criticism.
Celebrities – you need a “roof”
Youngsters -They are the “Roof”
— AG (@arunrp555) January 19, 2017
எங்கள் உரிமையை பாதுகாத்து கொள்ள எங்களுக்கு தெரியும். திரையில் செய்யும் நடிப்பை எங்களிடம் செய்ய வேண்டாம் #SayNoToNadigarSangam
— நவீணா ツ (@latha_Bharathy) January 19, 2017
Under instructions from the Nadigar Sangam’s office bearers Nasser and Vishal, a huge tent was erected on the Nadigar Sangam’s grounds for a silent fast. For a protest that was meant to be ‘silent’ and ‘unobtrusive’, the arrangements for it were everything but. A red carpet was laid from the gate till the dais. A group of bouncers stood guard near the gates, ably supported by policemen who routinely shooed bystanders away.
Nasser, President of the Nadigar Sangam, had asked the media not to cover the fast, to avoid deflecting attention from the Marina protest.
And so photographers and videographers from media agencies were barred entry into the venue, even as the website allegedly run by Vishal’s spokesperson began posting regular updates from the protest.
— FridayCinemaa (@FridayCinemaa) January 20, 2017
Needless to say, this has cast the Nadigar Sangam, and associated actors in particular, in a bad light.
Reliable sources tell us that the protest lasted all of 30 minutes. Actor Rajinikanth reportedly left the protest, while Kamal Haasan, Dhanush, and Suriya all made blink-and-miss appearances.
Memes are already doing the rounds on social media, accusing the stars of trivialising the protests.
A junior artiste who attended the meeting perhaps summed it up best: “It looked more like the Nadigar Sangam general meeting than anything else. I heard everybody appreciating Rahman on Dhuruvangal Pathinaru than anything about Jallikattu.”