Utpal Borpujari

April 1, 2009

Sex, religion and politics are private matters: Kamal Haasan

By Utpal Borpujari


“Sex, religion and politics should be kept personal.” That is the message of superstar Kamal Haasan for anyone keen to know his political views.


For someone whose fan base can prove to be a veritable powerhouse for any party in the election season if he decides to side with one, Kamal Haasan says he is a political person, but one not interested in joining the political ball game, unlike many of his peers.


“For me, politics is the stain on my finger which should not be allowed to spread to the rest of my body,” the star actor told Deccan Herald here on Tuesday. The reference was to the indelible ink mark put on a person’s finger after voting but the allusion was obviously much bigger.


“Yes, I am political. I used to be a person who said artistes need not be concerned about what is happening and should not get involved in politics, that it’s a separate world. But now I don’ think so. You cannot keep away from it,” he says. “I vote, but I prefer keep my political viewpoint discrete.”


But then, his politics, he says, gets reflected in his films. “My films are my politics. I am making my statements through my films. I have very strong statements to make. I may not change votes, but hopefully I can change minds through my films,” says the actor whose films like Hey Ram!, Anbe Sivam, and Indian has had strong socio-political themes.


Haasan, now readying for the April 17 release of Dashavtar, the Hindi version of the Tamil megahit Dashavatharam, in which he played a record ten characters, has strong words when it comes to the current standard of politics in India.


“I am not interested in joining politics. It’s not necessary to be involved in this kind of politics to run the country. I think we will have to vote this kind of politics out of the country. That’s the only way out, and it’s no use shouting at the politicians,” he says.


But then, should not conscientious people like him take the plunge to clean the system from within? “You don’t have to go to the Chor Bazaar and shout ‘chor chor’. Nobody would listen to you if you do that in a Chor Bazaar. The best thing is to keep away and not buy anything form that Bazaar, not subsidise it through your purchase,” says Haasan, who was in Delhi to promote his film.


More important than joining the bandwagon is to be an honest citizen and try to make the difference as one, he believes. “I am that old fashioned fool who pays his taxes proudly. That gives me the right to ask why my road is not good. Honesty may not be the best policy but it’s a great luxury – not all can afford it, I can,” he says.


He also has a word of advice to his fellow actors who take to politics. “Gandhiji was ambidextrous, he could write with both his hands, but not all can do it. So, if you are capable, go ahead and do it (join politics),” he says.


But then, he adds, “Let’s not even talk of those who are capable of sailing on two boats – of cinema and politics. Let’s talk of those who call cinema their only profession. They cannot even come on time for a film shoot – how do you expect them to go to one more profession which is actually supposed to be a service but has come to be called, sadly, a profession.”


(published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 01-04-2009)




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