I am already in politics

These last few days, Ajith has been overjoyed, as Attagaasam is doing well at the box-office. He, who had decided to divide his time between racing and acting before, has now taken the decision to devote the whole of time to cinema. For the next two years, heís going to be busy acting with the most renowned and the most succesful directors of Tamil cinema.
We met him on the shooting spot of the film Godfather, which is directed by K.S. Ravikumar and which is to be released on Tamil New Yearís Day.
Ajith answered with enthusiasm to our questions :

Why did you decide to give up racing to devote the whole of your time to your acting career?
On behalf of the 10 Million people who are living in India, I took part in the car race which took place in China. I returned to the country after having come third in this race. Nobody cared about it. This is an ungrateful world.

What would you like to become in the Tamil cinema industry ? What is your ambition ?
My wish is to reach the Number One position. And I have all the required qualities for that.

It seems that you donít wish to act in different get-ups anymore, as you already did before in CitizenÖ
Fans are expecting me to do specific get-ups. The best thing, for me, to do is to understand these expectations and to come up to these expectations. Thatís what I have decided to do.

In some places, the situation between your fans and Vijayís fans has worsen to such a degree that confrontations are taking place between the two groups. Whatís your opinion on this ?
All that I wish is that my fans as well as myself, we could all be well. Thatís what I have been telling to my fans from the beginning. I wish them to take care of their families and to reach a respectable position within the society. Thatís all I wish.

What are the repercussions that the success of the directors turned actors have on top actors like you ?
It has no repercussion. People alone can judge. Itís for them to decide. As long as it will be in this way, anybody can try his luck as an actor. To get nervous thinking about it is just like looking at ourselves in a mirror and being frightened of our own reflection. This is a ę Give and Take Ľ relationship. Conversely, many actors have become successful directors. Raj Kapoor is a fine example of it. Here, we have Kamal Sir.

You are the first one to have been approached to act in films like Nandaa or New. These films have become blockbusters afterwards. Do you regret not having acted in these films ?
Not at all. I believe that everyone gets what fate have decided to give him. Iím not the kind to mope thinking of every thing I didnít get.

Kadaykaalam and Madurai in Red, Toottukudy, Thiruchendoor and Kanniyakumary in Attagaasam and now Kumbakohnam in Ji. Many of your films have been shot in local areas of India. There, you have the opportunity to meet your fans. Is your ambitions to make your popularity rating increase in small towns and in villages ?
More than the youths of big cities, itís those who are living in small towns and in villages who make the Tamil Cinema live. So, to go and meet them is a good thing to do.

Rebelling against the political system or dreaming of taking the place of the Prime MinisterÖ Some heroes, in some of their films, are creating an excessively ę magnified Ľ image for themselves. Is it possible to have another M.G.R. in Tamil ?
So far, three actors from Tamil Cinema have become Prime Ministers. Their success in politics is not only due to the fact that they have been from the cinema industry. First, they have created their political parties, they have worked hard. Then, they have been chosen as leaders of their parties. After that only, did people made Prime Ministers of them.

In my opinion, the duty of actors and actresses is to give entertainement to people. All the fields need politiciansí help to function. Whatever the government is, artists have to make do. They have to be everybodyís men in politics. We must keep our political views to ourselves. But some artists are making no secret of their political convictions. This can be harmful to the cinema industry. If you like such or such politician, then, vote for him, join his party and try to do your best for people. And you can also continue your career as an actor at the same time. People wonít be disturbed in any way.

Thereís no harm in wishing to enter politics. Itís for people to decide if you deserve to have a place there.

You seem to have a quite precise idea on this question. Why donít you consider entering politics ?
I am already in politics : I do my duty as a citizen by voting in every election which is taking place. As far the question concerning the person I have chosen to vote for, I wish to keep the secret. But you are asking about hard-liner politics. Today, all those who are longing to enter politics are essantially looking for three things : the ę Top One Ľ reason is that they see politics as a way to earn lots of money. Then, comes the desire to get a high post and become a person of influence. The wish to serve people only comes last. Among those who have entered politics with the aim of beginning to serve the country, we have people like M.G.R. Jaya Lalitha and Karunathee. Nobody can carve out a place in politics for himself without deserving it. I canít consider entering politics for the moment. Because Iím too young for it. And I donít have any experience. Itís not for me to wish to enter politics. People have to wish to make me a politician.
I am not keeping clear of politics. I have nothing against it. Itís thanks to politics that the situation of our country can be improved and that poverty can be removed. But thatís not a reason to create hundreds of political parties. We couldnít see the end of it.
You can be a born politician. You canít become one.

Ajith shows his claws, Ajith revolts Ö Some of your interviews, which are published under such titles, are extremely ę hot Ľ. How can it be explained ?
I donít know ! I am just remaining myself. Thatís all ! Iím not pretending. I have no ennemy in the cinema industry. If I werenít as I am today, everybody would have hammered me. I have no Godfather or somebody to ę guide Ľ me, here. I have to take every of my decisions on my own. Sometimes, some of my decisions are proving to be the wrong ones. But, sometimes, my mistakes are teaching me some lessons. ę Live and let live! Ľ. Thatís my policy. Iím not going to let anybody stand in my way. Iím just like an open book. You donít need a dictionnary to read me. But nobody has the right to teach me how to live my life. Even if itís a close relation, itís the same thing. I wish to keep a little bit distance. This is not arrogance or Dadaism. Everyone needs some privacy. I wonít let anybody bring this right of mine into question. Journalists ę embellish Ľ what I say during my interviews when they put it down on paper, writing that Ajith revolts. Thatís called the freedom of the press. I donít see anything wrong in it.
Itís like giving a punching title to a film. It comes to the same thing. Those who just content themselves with reading only the title of the interview may think thereís something wrong in it. Thereís no use worryng about it.

Some people say you donít know holding back your wordsÖ
I am not saying to be a nice person or a saint. But I am somebody who tells straight out what I think. I donít know keeping my thoughts to myself. Iím like an open book. It doesnít present any danger for the society. Danger is from those who donít tell what they are thinking to the face, who keep saying nothing.

Why do you always talk about yourself in superiority terms ?
Thereís no harm in saying that Iím a bright man. I had to fight to reach the position which is mine today. To be recognized as a successful person after having overcome a good many difficulties is only possible if you show a great brightness, in this ungrateful world. Thereís no doubt in it.

Donít you scare to convey a bad image of yourself by talking like this ?
Thatís true. Some people are calling me a pretentious guy or an arrogant guy. But my heart is pure.

Who is supporting you in difficult moments, giving you the force to move ahead in life ?
First, my fans. Then, my family, among which is my wife Shalini. They leave me free to take my decisions by myself, without interfering in it. This freedom is one of the reasons for my success.

Why didnít you take part in the ceremony which was organized by the whole of the Tamil Cinema Industry in honour of the Tamil Prime Minister ?
I have alredy announced that, apart from Award ceremonies, I wonít take part in any other ceremony, and particularly in political ones.

How do you stand on the measure which has been taken to fight against pirate VCDs ?
I am extremely grateful to the Prime Minister for having taken this action. These words are coming from my heart ! Since this measure has been adopted, cinema theaters are filling up again.

You have acted in the Hindi film. Ashoka. Do you consider acting in other foreign films ?
Itís Tamil Cinema which made an actor of me. I wish to act in none other films but in Tamil ones.

In your opinion, what has been your contribution to Tamil Cinema ?
I think that, as an actor, I have to fulfill a mission : to awake peopleís consciences and make them open their eyes. Iíll do everything that is in my power to succeed in it.

What has this Cinema world taught you so far ?
First, the most important is to have self-confidence. Itís essential to have confidence in ourselves, in our talent. We must demonstrate our talent through the roles we are being given. Without worrying about what others could say on us. Our fans are our bosses. Our success in the Tamil Cinema depends on them. First, we have to show that we are existing, and, then, we have to get ready to fight in order to be recognized as a sucessful artist. We have to struggle. Cinema is like a wild jungle. We have to struggle a lot if we want to take the Lionís place in this jungle. I love competition. So, Iíll fight to the bitter end, until victory. Thereís no doubt about it.

What about the films you are acting in, at the moment ?
Thereís Ji, which is directed by Lingusamy. It will be released on Pongal. Then, I am acting in K.S. Ravikumarís Godfather. It will be released on Tamil New Yearís Day And I have been approached to act in a film wich is directed by Bala and in another one of Selvaraagavan. Discussions are taking place for these two films.

Translated by Kavitha

Source: Kalaymaamani Ajith

January 2005

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