Filmmaker-actor Kamal Haasan has expressed solidarity with filmmaker Vetrimaaran’s recent objection to the alleged saffronisation of Tamil history, identities and culture. Kamal was addressing a press conference after watching the special screening of Ponniyin Selvan: I when he made these observations. Kamal was accompanied by the film’s main star cast, Vikram and Karthi.
Kamal who gave glowing reviews to Mani Ratnam’s directorial noted that PS:1 marked the beginning of the “golden era in Tamil cinema.” And the media also asked what he thought about Vetrimaaran’s recent objecting of portraying Rajaraja Cholan, the protagonist of PS:1, as a Hindu king.
Kamal said that during the time of Rajaraja Cholan, the concept of the Hindu religion was nonexistent and it was the term coined by the British for their convenience. “There was no such thing as ‘Hindu religion’ during Rajaraja Cholan’s period. There was Vainavam, Shivam and Samanam, and the Britishers gave us that name (Hindu) as they didn’t know how to refer to us collectively. It is similar to how they changed Thuthukudi into Tuticorin”, said Kamal.
“We had different religions. It was Adhishankarar in the 8th century who established Shanmata Sthapana. That’s all history and we should not talk about that here. Because here we are celebrating a historical film. Let us not exaggerate or twist history or bring language issues into this,” he added.
Talking at an event in Chennai, Vetrimaaran underlined the importance of filmmakers protecting historical identities in cinema. “The art is for the people, and reflecting the people is the art. So we should properly handle this art form if we don’t… already many of our identities are being erased. Be it cladding Thiruvalluvar in saffron, or presenting Rajaraja Cholan as a Hindu king, such things keep happening (in our society). This will also happen in cinema and many identities are (already) removed from the cinema. We should protect our identities,” he said.
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