press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
Film actor Kamal Haasan said on Tuesday that he would not return an award conferred on him by the government.
“I understand that those returning awards are doing so as a mark of protest, a symbolic gesture, and I don’t insult their move,” Mr. Haasan said.
He was here to promote his noir thriller film Cheekati Rajyam (Thoongavanamin Tamil).
Speaking of his own choices, he reiterated that he wouldn’t for that matter return the money he had earned. “Let’s say I am angry with the entire film fraternity and want to make a point. I may return awards, but I won’t be able to return the money I’ve earned through cinema all these years. I’ve invested all that I earned in my projects. Even if I have so much money, I won’t give it away.”
“Awards are given by a jury in recognition of work done by creative people. It has nothing to do with a government,” he said.
His remarks came in the wake of several writers and other eminent personalities returning awards, including those conferred by Sahitya Akademi, as a mark of protest at the growing intolerance in different spheres.
Mr. Haasan underlined the fact that creative minds rose above religious borders. “I take inspiration from people like Gulzaar saab. When I think of him, only his poetry comes to mind. I don’t think if he is a Sikh or if he has converted to Islam. It is the same when we talk about K. Balachandar; we don’t think which caste he belongs to.”
His own films Viswaroopam and Uttama Villain ran into rough weather prior to their releases owing to protests from fringe groups. “The wrongs that have been done to me have been done by a different set of people. I will fight these battles separately.” Can the rise in intolerance be attributed to the BJP government? “The BJP wasn’t in power when Hey Ram or Viswaroopam were released. Any group, be it the Congress, the BJP, the RSS or the Muslim League, is equally intolerant. But everyone expects me to be tolerant and cut my film.”
‘Nothing will happen’
“Nothing will happen by returning the awards. You will insult the government or the people who gave you the award with love. That will bring attention, but there are many more ways to do it,” said the 60-year-old actor.
“They are talented people. Just one article by them will bring more attention than returning an award. They should keep the awards, make us proud and continue to fight any government that is not tolerant enough,” he said.
Would he ask filmmakers to not give back their awards? The actor said he was not sure it will make any difference. “Mere bolne se thodi vo sunenge [My appeal won’t make a difference]. We hope they don’t get too angry. They too, on their part, need to be a little more tolerant. Tolerance is give and take. I am not criticising any party, but this is nothing new to India. The nation will surmount this also, as it has done before.”
Mr. Haasan said the debate on intolerance had been going on since 1947 and it should be debated every five years. “You have taken the debate in your hands, but this intolerance is there since 1947. That’s why we became two nations. India and Pakistan could have been together and it would have been a fantastic and a huge country and we would have taken on China in commerce and everything. This intolerance is what divided the nation then. It should not divide the nation again.”
He said he was tolerant of all religions despite being non-religious himself. “I am not a religious man but I will never say no to any religion and their practices. I won’t do it, that’s my right,” he said.
From: The Hindu