Tamil actor Vishal Krishna ‘s controversial Tamil Film Irumbu Thirai opens this week in Telugu as Abhimanyudu.The films was targeted for being anti-establishment and anti-BJP on release.
“It’s anti-corruption.I am not scared to speak up against corruption on politics,” says the softpoken Tamil actor who has spoken fluent Telugu in the Telugu version of his hardhitting film.
Ever since Tamil actor Vishal Krishna actively jumped into Tamil Nadu’s tangled politics and was also elected the President of the Tamil Film Producers’ Council he has been targeted as man who is a threat to the status quo.
This image suits Vishal fine. “I’d rather be known as someone who tried to bring about a change—and there’s too much that’s wrong in Tamil Nadu politics to be speaking of reform—rather than someone who was just an actor who entertained and went away.”
Not that Vishal intends to make his cinema a constant tool of socio-political change.
“But that’s the way it is in my current film Irumbu Thirai which addresses the issue of the Government’s right to an individual’s personal information, and its misuse. My next film is also about a topical issue: granting the death sentence to child rapists. But I’m not saying my films will reflect my social ideology. I want to keep my film career separate from politics as much as I can,” says Vishal.
However politics did impinge on Vishal’s cinema when Irumbu Thirai was targeted for being anti-BJP as it lashed out at the alleged misuse of the Aadhaar Card to extract information confidential information about private citizens.
Admits Vishal, “I was targeted by the BJP.Some shows of Irumbu Thirai had to be cancelled in Chennai. Luckily there was absolutely no dispute with the censor board.They passed the film without any cuts. I showed the honourable Supreme Court ruling on the issue.”
Audiences, says Vishal, have come out of Irumbu Thirai feeling scared. “If you have a smartphone information can be stolen any time. When you ‘allow’an application you don’t read the fine-print. You should. Our film also also goes into the ATM fraud.”
It is providential that Irumbu Thirai has gotten away with questioning the system.
Vishal feels the time for people with voices that are heard to speak up is now. “You cannot be someone and not make a difference. I started my political journey during the Chennai floods in 2017. My small group of boys went around giving flood relief. To this day we are doing blood donations when required reaching the emergency situation at an hour’s notice. I feel there is so much to be done and just not enough initiative from people who can make a difference.”
Vishal has some sound ideas on how to improve the body-poli
tic. “A sports minister must be a sportsman himself. Look at the neglect of boxers, footballers and long-distance runners in Tamil Nadu. It is shameful. Politicians should stop giving money for votes. And only those who are qualified for the specific ministries should be ministers. A health minister should be qualified doctor. The education minister should be an educationist.”
Vishal sees himself playing an active role in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “I am willing to be elected.Or else I am willing to be solidier and let someone worthy lead. I am not going to be a mute spectator to the plunder of Tamil Nadu and the rest of the country.”
He welcomes the entry of Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth into politics. “Better late than never. I hope they make a difference to Tamil Nadu politics.”
Vishal describes the Sterlite violence as a complete failure of democracy.
Rages Vishal, “It now appears that a deputy-thalisdar gave the order to shoot. Who shoots at innocent protestors? Which form of government allows such violence?”