Speaking after laying the foundation stone for Kalaignar Managaram to construct 15,000 houses for the Tamil film industry artistes that was to take place at the site at Payanoor(Kancheepuram district) but had to be shifted to the Madras University centenary auditorium because of incessant rain. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said it is an occasion to cherish at the same time attacking another band of critics — those who ridiculed his family members entering the film industry in a big way. Upset by a newspaper cartoon that poked fun at his grandsons being engaged in producing, releasing and acting in Tamil movies, Karunanidhi exclaimed, “Prithviraj Kapoor’s grandchildren can be in films, Sivaji Ganesan’s son and grandson can act in motives, but Karunanidhi’s family alone shouldn’t enter it!” Karunanidhi added that he was not angry with those who published the cartoon, but wanted the people to understand that such motivated criticism was directed only against his family, and not that of any other actor. In the Tamil film industry, too, he cited the example of the late Sivaji Ganesan’s son and grandson and Rajnikanth’s son-in-law who were all actors.
The efforts of Tamil Film Producers Council President Rama Narayanan and FEFSI Chief Guhanathan have yielded results. Stating that film and politics were part of his life, he said he was associated with cinema for more than six decades. ”My life is filled with politics and films. No one can sever my good relations with the film industry”, he added. Mr Karunanidhi said many artistes work behind the scene in making a film.
”They work tirelessly to erect palaces and bungalows settings for films. But still their dreams of owning a house are not realised. It was my dream to ensure a house for them and this scheme is aimed at it”, he said. Listing out the concessions extended to the Tamil film industry, Mr Karunanidhi said his government had granted entertainment tax exemption to films carrying Tamil names, and the rent for shooting at Rajaji Hall was reduced in 2003.
Thanking all those who took part in today’s function, including those from Telugu, Kannada and Hindi film industry, the Chief Minister exuded confidence that the scheme would be completed successfully.