Yesterday, STR announced an “urgent” press meet to discuss the Jallikattu issue. Dressed in a black shirt and white veshti, he addressed reporters at his home in T Nagar and reiterated his support for Jallikattu, the Tamil Nadu sport that has been banned by the Supreme Court.
Jallikattu has been a contentious issue in the film industry. While a majority of stars have come out in support of Jallikattu, there exists a section who are derided for supporting the ban.
Simbu was accompanied by actor Premgi Amaren, who was clad in a t-shirt with the logo “Sex Instructor; First Lesson Free”. Premgi spoke in Tamil about Jallikattu’s cultural significance.
Meanwhile, STR took his time as usual and made his point in a roundabout way. He began by announcing his pride in being “born a Tamilian”. He said, “Tamil has been fed to me from birth. I take great pride in belonging to the Tamil race.”
With the Pongal holidays fast approaching, he said he did not know if he could wish people a ‘Happy Pongal’. He said, “With Pongal not given compulsory holiday status and the ban on Jallikattu, I do not know yet if I can wish anybody a Happy Pongal.”
He said, “Tamil has given me everything. But when I give my voice for Tamil and my Tamil-speaking people, I am labelled a politician.”
STR also cited his 5th standard report card [which he said he had with him] in which he scored “99/90, 90/100” as evidence of his all-consuming love for the language.
“First I am a human being, and only then I am a Tamilian. I take pride in belonging to both identities,” STR said.
He also confessed that he was suddenly campaigning for social causes because he was touched by the response to his last film. He said, “People came to watch my Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada despite demonetisation. This made me realise my role in the world. This is why I am raising my voice for Jallikattu now.”
He also talked about the discrimination meted out to Tamil people. He said, “Already us Tamils have issues with Sri Lanka and Karnataka. We keep getting issues. Till now, they were only attacking us on the outside. But with the Jallikattu ban, they have come into our household. This cannot be tolerated.”
“When fishermen from Kanyakumari are attacked in the sea, media reports it as Tamil fishermen. Not Indian fishermen. Why is that?” STR asked.
He also said that one must not depend on government agencies to solve problems. He praised Tamil Nadu college students for making the Jallikattu issue more prominent in the media. He said, “Why are the police attacking students who are taking necessary steps?”
He also warned that Tamilians shouldn’t be taken for granted. “We will retaliate,” he said.
He also criticised those he called “born and bred Tamilians” for not doing the right thing and supporting Jallikattu. He followed this with the classic rejoinder, “Even plants are living things. Will the government ban us from eating plants too?”
Lastly, he said that people who supported a ban on Jallikattu “are those who have forgotten their roots”. He said they were the people who could be found in coffee shops sipping latte with milk.
STR’s reasoning behind the sudden press meet was difficult to fathom. The actor was willing to talk about everything and closed by declaring his support for Jallikattu. However, this is something which anyone who follows his social media accounts is already aware of.
— STR (@iam_str) December 30, 2016