Vijay Sethupathi and Rajinikanth have reacted to the BJP led central government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which was an instrument of ascension for Kashmir to join the Indian Union and gave it special status and autonomy. This follow reactions from other celebrities and actors in Tamil cinema. While Vijay Sethupathi has termed the move undemocratic Rajinikanth has thanked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Vijay Sethupathi used Periyar’s words to state why the action was undemocratic. Speaking to SBS Radio in Australia, where he is attending the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (he won the Best Actor award for his role of trans woman Shilpa in Thiagarajan’s Kumararaja’s Super Deluxe), the actor said that there was a difference between a common person expression his/her opinion and a celebrity speaking about an issue. “We can’t talk without thought. I have to analyse every statement, so that it won’t cause a problem or hurt anyone.” When the interviewer asked him about Kashmir, Vijay said: “This is against democracy. Periyar has always said that only people should take a decision on the problems they face. I cannot enter your house and tell you how to budget expenditure, live your life or raise your children. You know your life best. I can show care, but not overrule you. Similarly, we are all speaking based on what we hear, only those who live there can tell what they feel. I am heartbroken seeing what happened in Kashmir.”
On the other hand, during the release of a book that details the two years of M Venkaiah Naidu as Vice-President, an event where Home Minister Amit Shah was also present, Rajinikath said Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were like Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Mahabharatha. “My heartfelt congratulations for your Mission Kashmir operations, Sir,” Rajinikanth told Shah, according to a report in PuthiyaThalaimurai TV. “The way you conducted it, hats off, especially the speech you delivered in Parliament, fantastic sir, fantastic.”
The star has backed the abrogation, something only one other party in Tamil Nadu did — the AIADMK, which contested parliamentary polls in alliance with the BJP. Every other party has come down hard on the Centre’s decision.