In what came as an odd relief to journalists who have been attending one serious press conference after another on the highly tense Cauvery Management Board issue, Saturday was a rare mix of funny, eccentric, and mostly confusing.
Actor Silambarasan – Simbu – called for a press conference to address issues such as the Cauvery dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, as well as the indefinite strike by the Tamil Film Producers’ Council. However, the actor ended up saying a bunch of things that no one really understood.
At every turn, Simbu seemed utterly lost about half the things he was saying, constantly checking with his team on what he was talking about. In fact, at one point, he checked with them on the term ‘Cauvery Management Board’ – which was one of the topics he said he wanted to speak about!
While former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death triggered a slew of political turmoils in the state, Simbu’s analogy for it certainly takes the cake. Issuing a character certificate to ghosts (we’re as confused as you are!), he said, “In Tamil Nadu, you’ve seen films about ghosts. The ghost never haunts someone in the house. It only haunts a house when an injustice has been done… I’m not saying this, I’m saying what has come…”
Simbu did not clarify what came or from where. Was it a WhatsApp forward? A dream? A divine intervention? Our guess is as good as yours!
Stumbling then to his next topic, the actor spoke on whether IPL should be conducted in Chennai, given the tense situation in the state. But he didn’t seem to have done his homework properly. Completely lost about who had asked for players to wear black badges in protest (it was Rajinikanth). Simbu first thought it was his own father, T Rajender; next he thought it would be controversial to take Rajinikanth’s name, wondering out loud what would happen if he did, and then asked the reporters present there if Kamal Haasan had said it.
In a bewildering conclusion to his line of thought, he ended up saying that the late Indian President Abdul Kalam had asked players to wear black clothes to the match!
Quickly realising that the President had passed away, he ‘corrected’ himself and said, “His soul said it after meditating.”
Suddenly bursting into a fit of unexplained anger, the actor yelled, “How does it matter who is speaking? Hey, they are speaking for Tamils. Do you not want to live in this country?”
‘Clarifying’ that the Cauvery dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu was related to water sharing, the actor asked a deeply thought provoking question: “Let’s say all Tamils lived in Karnataka and Kannadigas were in Tamil Nadu, will you give them water?” He went on to ask if the people of Karnataka would deny water if the people of Tamil Nadu asked for it, saying there was no need to take the dispute to the Supreme Court.
This was followed by a long, awkward pause where Professor Simbu waited for an answer from the journalists who probably questioned what they were doing there.
The actor was also annoyed by the frequent power cuts during the press meet.
In a request more bizarre than his press conference itself, Simbu asked the ‘mothers of Karnataka’ to post a video of them giving a tumbler of water to a Tamilian between 3 pm and 6 pm on April 11. “If they don’t post such a video,” Simbu said, “we will understand that you don’t want to give us water.”
Shifting to an eerily uncanny image of his father, Simbu went on rhyme mode stating that even the tears of the mothers of Karnataka amount to water (kanneer kooda thanner dhaan). In what ended up being a plug, he asked people to use the unite for humanity hashtag. Sigh.
“I need fame and money and people behind me. That’s why I am saying all this. Make me a big person,” he said, hopefully sarcastically.
When one journalist asked how Karnataka’s stance was fair, an agitated Simbu said, “If a crab bites me, I will put it back in the water. You are asking me why. Biting is the crab’s job, protecting the crab is a Tamil’s job.”
Simbu then walked off dramatically to the side as people in the room applauded.
Considering the nature of the press conference, Twitter was, of course, unforgiving.