Rajnikant apologises to Kannada activists for remarks

Chennai/Bangalore, July 31 (IANS) Assuaging the feelings of angry Kannada activists on the eve of the release of his mega movie “Kuselan”, superstar Rajnikant admitted Thursday that he had “erred in the past, in haste” on his remarks against those opposing a Tamil Nadu drinking water project.

Following his statement, Kannada chauvinists, who had threatened to stop the simultaneous release of the Rs.650 million blockbuster “Kuselan” Friday in India and abroad, withdrew their protest and agreed to its exhibition in Karnataka. Rajnikant’s apology in fluent Kannada was flashed across television screens in Bangalore and elsewhere across the state.

“Money, success and fame have not gone to my head. I carelessly erred in the past due to my eagerness to help the Tamils. If given a chance, I will do much more to help people of Karnataka,” Rajnikant said. The Tamil thespian was referring to his statement of April 4 during a day-long fast in Chennai when he said: “Shouldn’t those who place a stumbling block on a drinking water project (in Hogenekkal to benefit some 4 million Tamils) be beaten up to be taught a lesson?”

The star’s critics in Tamil Nadu’s political spectrum are not amused by his contrition. “If what he said in haste was wrong, does he have any feelings for Tamils at all or was it merely a lip sympathy that was expressed on April 4?” asked a PMK leader – known to be a bitter critic of the thespian.

Rajnikant is said to have done 20 cameo roles in “Kuselan” – a movie in which he plays himself and indulges in an endeavour to help an old acquaintance. “Kuselan” is remade from a Malayalam hit “Katha Parayumbol” (While Narrating A Story) starring Mammootty.

“My humility is not due to my superstar status. It is due to the fact that I have not forgotten that I was a bus conductor in Bangalore once,” the actor added. Rajnikant had already sought to calm ruffled feathers Wednesday when he sent an unconditional apology to the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce president and actress Jayamala.

“Kuselan” will be shown on over 470 screens Friday. Rajnikant is expected to fly to the US for the shooting of his next venture “Robot”, which is being directed by Shankar who had made the recent hit, “Sivaji The Boss.” Rajnikant’s actual name is Shivajirao Gaekwad and his mother tongue is Marathi.


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