With his reported criticism of Tamil Nadu government’s flood relief activities drawing a strong retort by ruling AIADMK, actor Kamal Haasan today clarified that his remarks were not intended at government, insisting that he had remained apolitical for long.
What was widely touted in the regional media as an “exclusive interview” to a north Indian media house was only a “tentative translation” of a letter written by him to a journalist friend upcountry, Haasan said in a statement here.
“My letter carried only my concern over the disaster and the sufferings of the people and there was neither any mention about the Tamil Nadu government nor had I asked how my tax money was being spent,” he said.
The actor maintained that if he had any such doubts, he would not have paid his taxes promptly all these years, while adding that he was mindful of his duties at all points of time.
Under severe attack from the state government over his reported comments that the “system has collapsed” in the rain-ravaged Tamil Nadu, especially Chennai where he lives, Haasan said he was in constant touch with his welfare movement, asking them to do their bit for people in this hour.
He said although he believed that interacting with his volunteers and directing them on flood-relief was more important at this point, especially with him having little access to newspapers and other forms of media, it however turned out to be a “mistake”.
That mistake has adopted a gigantic proportion now, he said using the ‘Vishwaroopam’ analogy.
Interestingly, state Finance Minister Panneerslevam, in
his criticism, had told Haasan that it was Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who had solved the row over the release of his film ‘Vishwaroopam’ in 2013 which had faced roadblocks following opposition of Muslims over the depiction of their community in the film.
However, this statement “is not a response to Mr O Panneerselvam,” Haasan insisted.
The ‘Thoongavanam’ star said his welfare movement comprised of volunteers with different political affiliations and he was issuing this clarification to ensure that they did not get “confused” following the row.
“Our movement has both believers and atheists. This is the time to work in tandem, transcending all political differences. I am duty bound to even apologies if I had hurt the sentiments of anyone involved in flood relief,” he said.
He urged both his critics and friends to join hands in this hour and that “differences can be dealt with later.”
“My movement has been working with different (party-led) governments for the last 36 years. I don’t align myself with any party and extend my cooperation to all to ensure that the welfare work is carried forward,” Haasan, who had also joined the NDA’s Swacchh Bharat mission said.
Haasan had faced the government’s wrath on Saturday with Panneerselvam hitting out at the actor for his reported criticism of the government.
The minister had termed Haasan a “puppet” in the hands of those trying to derive political mileage over flood-relief and had even charged him with insulting the people of Tamil Nadu with his reported remarks against the ruling AIADMK.