Tamil film industry rift over championing Sri Lankan TamilsOctober 18th, 2008 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Oct 18 (IANS) Most Tamil film actors have promised to turn up for the Nov 1 day-long token fast organised by actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar here to protest the suffering of Sri Lankan Tamils, and politely excused themselves from Sunday’s rally in Rameshwaram organised by ace director Bharati Raja. The Tamil film industry is keen on highlighting the suffering of Sri Lankan Tamils, from whom the industry nets a huge sum of money through overseas rights of their films.
Bharati Raja Friday launched a campaign against virtually all the matinee idols of the South Indian Actors’ Association (SIAA) led by Sarath Kumar for staying away from the demonstration and public meeting in Rameshwaram. He alleged the actor was attempting to use the state’s unhappiness over the suffering of Sri Lankan Tamils to further his political career.
“Can’t they be present at Rameshwaram to show solidarity with Sri Lanka Tamils? It is their hard earned money that is bringing in a lot of profit through the overseas rights of Tamil movies,” Raja said.
Many actors have excused themselves from the Rameshwaram protest citing preoccupation.
While Raja is considered to be close to the ruling DMK, Kumar is in the opposition camp and heads the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi (AISMK).
Kumar’s supporters feel Raja was talking out of turn.
“Raja had failed to turn up during an emotional protest in April against Kannada chauvinists’ destruction of Tamil movie properties in Bangalore,” said a top functionary of Kumar-led AISMK.
Significantly, the Raja-led protest will be attended by several directors and technicians owing allegiance to the Film Employees’ Federation of South India (FEFSI) - the apex body of the entire south’s film industry, but will lack glamour as most of the actors and actresses are planning to stay away.
“The polemics in the film industry politics has taken a needless lead when the actual focus ought to be on the sufferings Tamils in Sri Lanka. The attention, however, will help the Tamils’ cause in the longer run,” said P. Shankar, a scriptwriter and production designer.
Kumar had said Wednesday, “A large number of actors will not be able to take part in the demonstration in Rameshwaram and hence we are organising a fast on Nov 1 in the SIAA premises.”