Actor Vijay Sethupathi, who has been conferred the Kalaimamani Award by the Tamil Nadu government, is set to receive his award in a few days’ time. The actor was late to the award function held on Tuesday. This has given fodder to rumours on social media that the government has removed Vijay Sethupathi’s name from the list of recipients. The actor, popularly known as ‘Makkal Selvan’, recently made news when he termed the abrogation of Article 370 by the BJP government as anti-democratic.
According to sources close to the actor, Vijay Sethupathi was caught in traffic for two hours on his way to Kalaivanar Arangam where the awards were distributed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. “He was caught in traffic and got late by two hours. But he didn’t want to skip the event. He attended the event, although it was late. His name was not announced as he was not present at the venue,” says a source.
Government officials who had met the actor backstage reportedly assured him that he would be given an appointment to receive the award from the Chief Minister later in the week.
In March this year, the state government announced the Kalaimamani Awards after an eight-year delay. Over 200 recipients from among 72 different art forms were honoured with the award, instituted by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. Vijay Sethupathi received the award for 2017, a year that saw him deliver the action hit Vikram Vedha.
Tuesday’s incident prompted speculation that the actor’s absence on stage was on account of his recent comments on the abrogation of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government.
In a radio interview with SBS Tamil Australia, he had said, “It is against democracy. Periyar had said earlier itself that people themselves should decide on their problems and issues. Can I interfere in the affairs of your house? It is you who live there… I can be concerned about you, but cannot impose my decisions on you. Both these are different.” He had also said that the reports he read about Kashmir caused him great pain and reiterated that while people outside Kashmir can be concerned about them, they should not step in and offer suggestions to them. The actor was in Australia to participate in the Indian Film Festival in Melbourne.