‘If we don’t light camphor, we will be termed terrorists’: Pa Ranjith on Ram temple

Ranjith and Keerthi Pandian have so far been the only voices from the Tamil film industry to criticise the construction of the Ram temple.
Filmmaker Pa Ranjith at Blue Star audio launch
Filmmaker Pa Ranjith at Blue Star audio launchNeelamProductions/Instagram
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Reacting to the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya on Monday, January 22, filmmaker Pa Ranjith said that each person across India needs to work towards countering “regressive politics.” Speaking at the pre-release event of Blue Star, a film bankrolled by his company Neelam Productions, Ranjith began by saying, “Today is an important day, isn’t it?” He went on to add: “It has come to the point that if we do not light camphor in our homes today, we can be considered terrorists. India is moving towards a very dangerous future. There is a fear among us about what kind of India we will be living in the next five or ten years. Before entering that time period, we are using art to correct ourselves, to erase the regressive ideas that have been taught to us and to remove communal ideas from our minds.”

 Blue Star stars actors Ashok Selvan, Shanthanu Bhagyaraj, Keerthi Pandian and others. The film is directed by Jai.

“This art is a tool that can reach people easily. We believe that art can counter the effects of regressive politics. It is this belief that we are doing our work. We must each work towards saving India from such a future. I believe that across India, people will do the same,” Ranjith also said.

The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ or inauguration ceremony of the Ram temple began at 12:20 pm with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiling the idol of the Hindu deity Ram. The unveiling was presided over by seers and RSS chief Mohan Baghwat. Modi and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath also gave speeches during the inaugural event that was attended by around 8,000 people. 

Before Ranjith’s speech, actor Keerthi Pandian said, “Our audio launch is happening on an important day. I am quoting the lines from Arivu’s song ‘Arakkonam Style’ from our movie: ‘Kaalu mela kaala podu raavana kulame. Mela erum kaalam aachu eriyaaganume’.” The lines loosely translate to: The time has come for the people of Ravanan to sit with their legs crossed and to climb to new heights. The reference to Ravanan here in Arivu’s song, is a reference to the anti-caste interpretation of Ravanan as a hero of lowered-caste communities. This interpretation is a counter to the demonisation in Hindu belief of both Ravanan and lowered-caste people as ‘asuras’ and projecting Brahmanical gods and upper caste communities as inherently ‘good’. 

Keerthi also pointed out the importance of speaking about politics in cinema adding that those who do not do so are simply choosing to ignore realities. 

Ranjith and Keerthi Pandian have so far been the only voices from the Tamil film industry to criticise the construction of the Ram temple. Hugely popular stars Rajinikanth and Dhanush have both attended the inauguration, with the former calling January 22 “an unforgettable day in history.”

On the other hand, many celebrities from the Malayalam movie industry such Parvathy Thiruvothu, Rima Kallingal, Divya Prabha, Rajesh Madhavan, Kani Kusruti, Jeo Baby, Aashiq Abu and others registered their protest by sharing the Preamble of the Indian Constitution on their social media platforms. The move is a reminder — on the day the BJP is seen to have fulfilled one of its most strident Hindutva promises — of the secular, socialist, and democratic values enshrined in India’s Constitution.

Also Read:

Malayalam actors, directors share Constitution preamble on Ram temple inauguration day 

Why we did a TNM series on the southern echoes of the Ayodhya movement

Hyderabad movie club slams Congress govt for arrests over Ram ke Naam screening  

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