Days after the release of Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan, which is based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s novel of the same name, Tamil director Vetrimaaran said that representing Chola King Rajaraja Chola as a Hindu would be wrong, for Hinduism did not exist during that era. “Our identities are already being erased. Be it cladding Thiruvalluvar in saffron, or presenting Rajaraja Chola as a Hindu king, such things keep happening in society,” he said, emphasising the need to protect society.
Prince Arulmozhi Varman, also known as Ponniyin Selvan, became the renowned Rajaraja Chola after he ascended to the throne.
While his statement had created a controversy, with many in disagreement with him, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has now come out in support of Vetrimaaran. Kamal Haasan, along with actors Vikram and Karthi, sat and watched Ponniyin Selvan at Phoenix Mall in Velachery, Chennai with the public. After the screening, he spoke to the media about a variety of topics. He admitted that he is a little jealous of the actors in the film since he does not get to act in the great movie.
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Kamal Haasan, who provides a voiceover at the beginning of the film about the Golden Age of the Cholas, says that with Ponniyin Selvan, the golden era of Tamil cinema has begun. He then soon addressed the statement made by Vetrimaaran about Hinduism not existing during the Cholas. He agreed to the statement and said that during the time of Raja Raja Chola, there were Saivam, Vainavam and Samanam. According to his statement, Hinduism was a term coined by the British to name all the existing sects collectively. “It is similar to how they changed Thuthukudi into Tuticorin. We are celebrating history; thus, there is no need for manipulation or introducing a linguistic issue, “he said.
It is interesting to note that Kamal Haasan himself portrayed a staunch Vainavam follower opposing a Chola king following Saivam in one of the 10 characters he played in the movie Dasavatharam.