Days after a 23-year-old Chennai techie lost her life due to an illegal hoarding, Kollywood actors have come out and spoken against the cut-out culture rampant in the state. On Saturday, actors Vijay and Suriya held press meets appealing to their fans to not erect giant cut-outs of them ahead of big releases.
Actor Vijay, whose fans have been responsible for some of the biggest cutouts of the star in the past, requested that banners, cut-outs of hoardings are not placed. Speaking ahead of the audio launch of Bigil, his upcoming movie, Vijay specifically asked the district association heads to ensure that no cut-outs are erected.
Meanwhile actor Suriya asked that the cut-out culture in Tamil Nadu see an end, especially after the tragic accident which has left the whole state saddened. The actor was speaking at a promotional event in Chennai for his upcoming film Kaappaan, where he appealed to his fans to take up social causes such as blood donation, instead of investing time and effort in erecting banners.
Actor Ajith's Madurai fans association too resolved to stop erecting banners and cut-outs of the star henceforth.
"The loss of our sister Subhasri because of the banner on the road is very painful. Failure to think and act on our mistakes can cause the loss of more lives. Let us think and act. We pledge not to put up banners at events and in public places henceforth to spread the popularity of Ajith," read a notice by Ajith's Madurai fans association.
Actor-turned politician Kamal Hassan too addressed the issue, on the reality show Bigg Boss which he hosts. At the beginning of the show, Kamal spoke about Subhasri and her family, stating that everyone had to become pro-active to ensure that such an incident does not repeat.
“But we have a bigger responsibility. We have to become their protectors. This is not the first time that a life has been lost due to the erection of illegal banners. In 2017, a man named Raghu from Coimbatore died in a similar accident after a huge banner fell on him. The Madras High Court too has many a time insisted that erecting unauthorised cut-outs are in violation of the law. However, no one had the time to pay any attention to it,” Kamal said.
Earlier this week, 23-year-old Subhasri, a Chennai based techie was riding her two-wheeler along the 200 feet radial stretch of the Thoraipakkam-Pallavaram Main road when an unauthorised hoarding fell on her, leading to her death. Subhasri lost her balance and fell under the wheels of a tanker lorry that was behind her bike. The hoarding which caused her life was infact a wedding invite, welcoming Deputy Chief Minster O Panneerselvam to the event.
The man responsible for placing the hoarding was AIADMK functionary and former councillor S Jayagopal, whose son was getting married in a high profile event which saw several leaders including OPS.
“This banner that fell might not have been related to politics. However, when it is placed in a public place, everything is political. Even if it is our family's wedding, if we place it outside, it affects the public. We can not just point fingers at the politicians. There is no need to erect such big banners for personal events like weddings and birthdays. There is a necessity to realise this. Banners can be placed only where it is permitted. Everyone can do so if they have necessary permissions. Just because it is free, we should not abuse it. We should reprimand if we find any illegal hoarding,” Kamal added.
While the actor-turned politician addressed issue as the host of Bigg Boss, no statement was released by his political party - Makkal Needhi Maiam on the same. This, even as several other parties including the ruling AIADMK, DMK, PMK and others put out official statements. However, Kamal Haasan has spoken up in the past and told his cadres not to erect hoardings. DMK chief MK Stalin firmly asked his cadres to stop erecting cut outs and stated that if he spotted any illegal banners at an event he was supposed to attend, he would refrain from doing so.