Kamal Haasan held a short press conference this morning, expressing his thoughts over the violence that escalated on Monday morning. The actor has been fairly vocal about the recent jallikattu protests and its ban in Tamil Nadu.
Appearing calm and collected, answering every question with a witty retort, Haasan highlighted the events that could have been avoided that resulted in Chennai coming to a halt on Monday. “I was shocked to see videos of the city’s cops engaging in violence. I hope some sort of explanation is given to us. We need answers to calm us down,” he expressed during the initial minutes of the conference.
On the subject of cruelty endured by the bulls for jallikattu, Haasan responded with an example to prove the evident double standards. “There are hundreds of elephants that are not meant to stand in front of firecrackers and drums. Yet, in Kerala, many elephants are being trained to take that and we have been doing that for years,” he said.
The actor had been facing support and flak over his comments on the issue, with many branding him a partyman. “Much of the agitation was a symbol of their (people of Tamil Nadu) discontent. Everybody was making inflammatory speeches; this whole agitation came out of inflammation. I am just looking at the system from the media angle. We took it for too long. It cannot be sudden. I think we found a reason in Jallikattu,” he said, before adding that there was no conspiracy for people to jump into conclusions. “The CM even thanked me for controlling the movement.”
Given the number of members of the film fraternity taking a diplomatic stand on jalikattu, Haasan went on to explain why he is vocal about his thoughts on political issues. “I’m not a drug addict to be ashamed of it. Some people say I hate Pakistan, and I say that I don’t want to say I hate it. I want to simply rub off the borders. Had I been born in 1924, I would have sat in front of Gandhi and asked him for unity between Pakistan and India. That is my feeling even now,” he said.
Visibly anguished, Haasan questioned the notions of banning things that were dear to one’s culture and heritage. When asked if PETA’s ban on jallikattu could have led to much disarray and displacement in the state, Haasan was quick to respond even if it meant broaching a rather different tangent. “Why do you want to ban anything? It’s a democratic country. Then ban Vishwaroopam (2013). (Laughs). I will not accept it. Tell me if Vishwaroopam spreads sedition. Correct me, school me!”
Ending the 30-minute conference with the media, Haasan cleared the air about his apparent foray into politics. “Yes, there were reports that Rajinikanth and I would want to work in politics. But, no. For me, it’s like a revolving door. I never want to enter the edifice that is politics. I keep talking about politics every five years. I’m doing it now,” he concluded.