Kamal Haasan says India has forgotten the word ‘tolerant’, reacts to Vikram’s Ondriyam controversy

Kamal Haasan was recently in the national capital to promote his upcoming film, Vikram. During an exclusive conversation with India Today, the South superstar opened up about the controversy revolving around one of the film’s song. Vikram’s first single Pathala Pathala had courted controversy over the usage of a certain word, ‘Ondriyam’. Many interpreted that the song was targeting the Union government. Kamal reacted to it and told India Today that India has forgotten the term ‘tolerant.’


Speaking up on the Ondriyam controversy of Vikram, Kamal Haasan said, “Ondriyam could be many things. One has to see the film to know why we have used this song here. It is because it suits the film. We are not EP, we are filmmakers, and I am a politician too so punning is something I like to do. But I think India has forgotten the term ‘tolerant’ and has also forgotten the word ‘criticism’. There should be no criticism for what he did. Thank goodness I am not like that. I expect criticism for any of the films that I do. And I redeem myself, correct myself depending upon how sensible and justifiable the criticism is.”

Kamal Haasan further told us, “Every Union government should be targetted, whatever party it belongs to. The state should look at it and comment, critique it. That’s democracy. Any government, anybody, whichever party it is. I am centrist. So I will think like that and you must let that kind of thinking grow. That’s a quality of leadership, to take criticism when it comes and check it out whether it’s justifiable instead of just quashing or silencing it.”


Talking about his experience shooting for Vikram, Kamal Haasan said, “I was away doing politics and I still am. I had a fantastic team, right from production. These are the kind of teams I have been dreaming of. This way, you have things in place with experts in each field working and taking care of that and defending their position properly. The product itself becomes better. Then the content has to be written well. We have been in production for 40 years and we have tried to keep the quality of films and make it successful also.”


Talking about his Cannes experience, Kamal Haasan said, “India always had a place in Cannes. Now it was in inverted commas which is a proud moment. It was a long overdue. Officials at Cannes felt that all kinds of cinema should be shown. And there is another school that believe that only truly path-breaking cinemas should be shown in Cannes. Well it’s a debate which is still going on. I belong to both kinds of cinemas, so I was happy to be there.”


Vikram is a high-octane action drama, starring Kamal Haasan in the lead. The film also stars Vijay Sethupathi and Fahadh Faasil along with Kalidas Jayaram, Narain, Antony Varghese and Arjun Das in key roles. Suriya also has a cameo in the film. Vikram releases on June 3.

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