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Vetrimaaran’s fiery speech on Tamil cinema: ‘Cladding Thiruvalluvar in saffron, presenting Rajaraja Cholan as a Hindu king, our identities are being erased’

Filmmaker Vetrimaaran has alleged that many identities are being removed from cinema. He also mentioned how Rajaraja Cholan is being presented as a Hindu king.

Filmmaker Vetrimaaran is now busy with Viduthalai. (Photo: Facebook/Vetrimaaran)

Tamil filmmaker Vetrimaaran recently emphasised the importance of shaping the art of cinema as a tool to disseminate political knowledge. He was speaking at the birthday celebration of MP and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi’s (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan when he made a passionate speech about the country’s current political scenario.

Vetrimaaran recalled that when he wanted to make Asuran (2019), he first met Thirumavalavan to take his advice to ensure his film doesn’t go wrong politically. “When I asked what should be the priority when we deal with such a subject in movies, he told me not to make the mistake of telling that one person can bring about changes in society. Everyone is doing the same mistake. Show that the changes happen through a movement,” said Vetrimaaran.

Vetrimaaran claimed that Tamil cinema had stopped making politically relevant movies for some time. And he also emphasised the need to keep movies well within the realm of politics. “Art is inherently political. But, Thirumavalavan went a step further and told me that our very existence is political. Knowing or unknowingly, we occupy a certain political space. The way we dress, talk, and everything about us is the reflection of the political ideology that we have imbibed. It is because the Dravidian movement took over Tamil cinema, Tamil Nadu remains a secular state and has given us the maturity to resist the influence of various external factors. Cinema is an art form which very easily reaches common people and it’s important to politicise it,” he added.

Vetrimaaran is very vocal about politics in his movies. All his movies deal with an important social issue, be it the horrors of police brutality and custodial torture in Visaranai, or the ills of casteist society in Asuran. He promised he would continue to talk about politics in his movies.

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A still picture from Visaranai.

“When the Dravidian movement took over the cinema, there were arguments about doing art for art’s sake and not for the masses. They talked a lot about aesthetic beauty. Yes, that’s also important but no art is complete if it doesn’t touch the lives of people,” he added.

He also alleged that many identities are being removed from cinema. “The art is for the people, and reflecting the people is the art. So we should properly handle this art form if we don’t… already many of our identities are being erased. Be it cladding Thiruvalluvar in saffron, or presenting Rajaraja Cholan as a Hindu king, such things keep happening (in our society). This will also happen in cinema and many identities are (already) removed from the cinema. We should protect our identities,” he said.

It’s noteworthy that Vetrimaaran’s comments have come just days after the release of filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s much-awaited movie, Ponniyin Selvan: 1, which is based on Kalki’s fictional novel inspired by Rajaraja Cholan.

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Vetrimaaran is now busy with his upcoming film, Viduthalai. The film stars Soori and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead role. After completing it, he will start shooting Vaadivaasal with Suriya in the lead.

First published on: 03-10-2022 at 12:40:33 pm
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