Silambarasan, called Simbu or STR for short, is not new to controversy. The actor who made his debut in Tamil cinema as a child star under his father T Rajendar’s direction, has gone on to build a wide fan-base in the state, especially among the youth. However, he frequently makes news for all the wrong reasons.
The latest instance is the actor asking his fans to erect huge flex boards and cut-outs as well as perform fan rituals like paal abhishekam ahead of the release of his film Vantha Rajavathaan Varuven.
1. Paal abhishekam video: In a video uploaded on social media, Simbu said that he’d previously asked his fans not to do any of this but that people had trolled him, saying he didn’t have any fans in the first place. And so, he was now appealing to his fans to go overboard in order to show that they do actually exist.
His U-turn has attracted criticism on social media, given that people have been grievously injured by falling cut-outs or when climbing up these to do paal abhishekam. The Tamil Nadu Milk Dealers’ Association has also objected to his statement, noting that such practices must be ended and that there should be a permanent ban on paal abhishekam for cut-outs.
In contrary to the negative comments on his recent video for avoiding banners & cutouts for his movie releases, he asks his fans to celebrate his film #VanthaRajavathaanVaruven like a festival! #STR #Simbu #VRV Releasing Worldwide on February 1st. pic.twitter.com/YV9yAwsxUE— Tamilnadu Theatres Association (@TNTheatres) January 22, 2019
2. ‘Beep’ song controversy: Simbu’s ‘Beep’ song which contained a misogynistic expletive was widely slammed after it released online in December 2015. Simbu, however, claimed that the song was leaked without his knowledge. It was rumoured that music composer Anirudh had composed the song, with Simbu’s father T Rajendar giving the police a complaint to that effect. However, Anirudh distanced himself from it, and Simbu said that he’d done the music himself but that the song was not meant to be released for public consumption.
Several women’s rights activists, including the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), conducted protests against the actor for the song.
3. ‘Me Too’ movement: In October 2018, the ‘Me Too’ movement outing alleged sexual harassers in the media and entertainment fields took social media by storm. Actor Lekha Washington, who was supposed to do a film titled Kettavan with Simbu in 2007, put out a tweet saying: “One word: Kettavan #metoo”. While Lekha did not name Simbu directly, his fans took umbrage at the insinuation and widely slut-shamed her on social media.
In response, Lekha asked people to read the responses to her tweet to understand why women don’t come out against their harassers in India.
Please read the comments on my previous tweet to find out why women don’t come out in India.— lekha washington (@washingtonlekha) October 23, 2018
4. Wasting producer’s money for AAA: Producer Michael Rayappan alleged that Simbu had driven him to bankruptcy by not keeping to the schedule for his film Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangathavan that released in June 2017. The film, directed by Adhik Ravichandran, was supposed to have two parts. However, the second part was cancelled.
The producer made several allegations about Simbu, including that the actor had refused to turn up at the recording studio for dubbing and had instead recorded his dialogues in his bathroom. Simbu’s no-show at shoots is common knowledge in the Tamil film industry, with director Gautham Menon, who has worked with him in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya and Achcham Enbathu Madamayada, acknowledging the same.
Following the allegations made by Rayappan, Simbu was served a Red Card by the Producers’ Council under Vishal. However, the actor made a comeback with Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Chivantha Vaanam. He also involved himself in social and political issues like the Cauvery river dispute and recently released the ‘Periyar Kuthu’ song.
5. Clash with Vishal: Despite the Red Card notice, Simbu went ahead and acted in Vantha Rajavathan Varuven. He had announced that the film would definitely release for Pongal 2019, competing with Rajinikanth’s Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam, However, the Producers’ Council did not clear the release date.
Nevertheless, Simbu has gone ahead and released a song from the film, titled ‘Red Cardu’ which has lines that go: “Who are you to ask me not to come in, look at the crowd that has come to see what I do standing outside!”
Without a doubt, the song is addressed to the Producers’ Council headed by Vishal, against whom he has clashed in the past during the Nadigar Sangam elections. At a press meet, Simbu lashed out against Vishal in what was seen as a personal attack.
6. Rivalry with Dhanush: Though Simbu has been acting since childhood, he made his debut as hero in 2002, the same year as Dhanush. Since then, both actors have shared an on-screen rivalry which they have admitted to in public. Both of them are also good at music and dance, adding to the competition.
In 2004, when Dhanush got married to Aishwarya Rajinikanth, a recorded conversation which was supposedly between Aishwarya and Simbu, whom she was said to be dating, was leaked online. The conversation was quite abusive in nature and several said that it was fake.
There have been rumours that Dhanush tried to stop Simbu’s growth in the industry because of the issues between them. However, in 2017, Simbu delivered an emotional speech about Dhanush, with the latter sharing the stage with him. This was at the audio launch of actor Santhanam’s Sakka Podu Podu Raja, for which Simbu was the music composer. Simbu also apologised to AAA producer Rayappan but added that the producer had not gone about expressing his objections in the correct way.
7. Leaked photographs: Simbu and Nayanthara were in a relationship at one point. However, Nayanthara broke up with him and certain intimate photos of the two of them were leaked. The two were not on speaking terms for a while after this but finally did a film together in 2016 called Idhu Namma Aalu. In 2018, Simbu claimed that the photos had been leaked from the camera without his knowledge and that he’d been very upset about it at the time.
8. Ajith controversy: In 2016, Simbu had a chat with his fans on his Facebook page. When one of the fans asked him if he would include an Ajith reference in his (then) upcoming film AAA given that Simbu was known to do that in other films, the actor said that he wasn’t going to make Ajith references any more. He added that he used to hail Ajith at a time when his (Ajith’s) movies were flopping and that since everyone was doing it now, he was going to stop.
Ajith fans took offence to the statement and attacked the actor online. However, Simbu clarified that he had not intended to insult Ajith in any way and that he had great respect for him.