According to the media house, Kamal Haasan, whose latest movie releases today, enjoys causing a stir as an actor and now he is looking to shake up politics as well. Declaring his political ideology as that of a “politi-culturalist”, Mr. Haasan spoke to NDTV about his political appeal, his “pan-national” approach and his view on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as India heads towards 2019 national elections.
The 63-year-old, who has endured battles with censorship, recently formed his own political party and plans to fight for artistic freedoms that he says are being curbed.Mr. Haasan launched MakkalNeedhiMaiam in February, a political party based in Tamil Nadu that translates to “People’s Justice Centre”.The multiple award-winning screen icon, who made his debut aged six over half a century ago, is the latest in a long line of actors from the South hoping to transform their popularity at the box office into votes at the ballot box.
“Prima facie, PM Modi is a man – that’s how I would like to look at him. So, there’s no use of being anti-Modi. I want to be anti-ideology or pro-ideology. Be it Mr [Rahul] Gandhi, Kamal Haasan or Rajinikanth. We can’t play personality cult; people should also stop doing that. I’m not pro-Modi, I’m not anti-Modi, I’m pro-country and pro-progress,” Mr Hassan said.
However, he said the contemporary national focus should change from eliminating one political party or the other. “They (other parties) are talking about a country without that party, a country without this party. Our first priority should be a country without poverty. That should be the enemy, not an opposition party,” he said.
Talking about his clashes with Ms. Jayalalithaa, he said, “However big the empress, you can talk and you must talk earnestly… In this case I did not fight because of my ego, I fought for my rights and justice prevailed.”His venture into politics came after another Tamil cinema icon, Rajinikanth, also floated the idea of forming his own party.