Noted Tamil film actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar believes that young
people in India should increasingly enter politics and try to make a difference
rather than just complaining about the nation's ills.
"They (students) complain about corruption... Why don't they correct
it by taking things into their hands?" Sarath Kumar told IANS here.
He was chief guest at the annual convention of the Federation of Tamil
Sangams of North America.
At the convention, the actor-politician spoke about his profession
and politics. He faced several questions as to why he left the DMK to
join the AIADMK at the eleventh hour before the Tamil Nadu assembly
elections in May.
His wife Radhikaa, a veteran actress, television producer, and CEO
of Radaan Mediaworks, was the other chief guest at the three-day meeting.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You changed parties just before elections. Why?
Sarath: There were several reasons. First of all, I am an intelligent
and hardworking and productive guy. I have many ideas, which if applied
will make a big difference in our state's development and in people's
But I was not given the kind of freedom I would have liked to have.
I believe Madam Jayalalitha (AIADMK general secretary and former Tamil
Nadu chief minister) is a great leader and I can do much to our society
under her leadership.
Q: In this short time of your association with the AIADMK,
have you found any difference in the way the two parties work?
Sarath: This is a coalition government. Logistics worked well for the
DMK with alliances. The new government took charge only three months
ago and already we can see 'goondaism' coming back in Tamil Nadu. This
was not the case under the AIADMK. I strongly believe Madam (Jayalalitha)
will come back to power soon.
Q: Can you explain some of your plans as a politician?
Sarath: I want to work with school and college students in a specific
way. I want to meet students and tell them why it is important for them
to enter politics and mentor them for politics. They complain about
corruption ... why don't they correct it by taking things into their
hands? By 2015 more than half of Indian population will be under 20.
We must take advantage of that.
Q: You met with young members of the Tamil community here.
What advice do you have for them?
Sarath: They were all very enthusiastic and creative. Many of them
obviously were keen on knowing how to get into Tamil movies.
Q: Coming to your acting career, what's your next movie?
Sarath: I'm working with director Gautham Menon, opposite actress Jyothika.
The film will be released for Diwali. It has two working titles... "Silandhi"
(spider) and "Vilai Uyir Endralum" (Even at the cost of life).
It will be my 99th film.
Q: So what's your 100th film going to be?
Sarath: The title is "Thalai Magan" (First Born). I play
the role of a journalist. It's an action film giving an insight into
how society is moulded by the press these days and what the role of
the media should be. It's going to be produced by my wife Radhikaa and
Q: Tamil movies, including many of yours, come out as pirated
video cassettes, VCDs and DVDs as soon as they are released. Can such
piracy be eliminated?
Sarath: This has been a problem for a long time. Unless the thief himself
has a change of heart, this will continue. It's unfortunate that so
many artists, producers, directors and technicians should lose the money
due to them.
Radhikaa: As a policy, we never watch movie on VCD or DVD at home.
As a family we go to the theatre and watch movies. If everyone does
this, the situation can change. Right now, it's a catch 22 situation.
Q: Talking of teleserials, what made you move to small screen?
Radhikaa: It was in 1994 when it was the peak of my film career that
I decided to move to the small screen. I found it very hard because
I was not taken seriously... There was this preconceived notion about
actresses that was distasteful to me. But I hung in there and proved
that I was going to be here (in the teleserial production industry)
Q: How did you like this New York trip?
Radhikaa: I enjoyed my stay here. This is, in fact, my first trip to
New York. It's nice and vibrant!
Q: Any thoughts of making New York the location for your next
Radhikaa: Hopefully, some time in the future. But not the next one!