Hitting back at those who had been taking potshots at him for choosing to work with Kaththi's producers, actor Vijay on Thursday said, "I will not call myself a thyagi (one who sacrifices himself for others) but I am also definitely not a drohi (a traitor)."
Speaking at the audio launch of Kaththi, which was held at a star hotel in the city, he said, "I am generally not in the habit of talking about my own films but I believe this film will be an important one for both my director A R Murugadoss and me. My film's title might be Kaththi (knife) but my film aims to promote peace. It is to make people from all communities forget their troubles and enjoy themselves. It is not for or against members of any community."
Answering critics who had been demanding that he break his stoic silence over the issue of his film's producers being close to Sri Lankan President Rajapakse, Vijay said, "I wanted my producers to clarify and they have clarified their stand clearly and set the record straight."
Indicating that allegations on his producers' proximity to Rajapakse were all false and that they were nothing more than rumours, Vijay said, "I did not speak because if you explain truth, it becomes clearer. If you discuss rumours, they could be presented in the garb of truth."
The actor received ample support from A R Murugadoss, who disclosed that despite being advised against speaking on the issue, he couldn't contain himself.
Making it clear that they hadn't abandoned the Tamil cause, Murugadoss said, "When I first joined as an assistant director, I received a pay of Rs 500. When I directed my first film, my salary was Rs 10,000. The salary I get for the movies I make in other languages, even today, is less than what I get for my Tamil movies. So, I am not someone who is after money. The only reason I went to Bollywood to make Hindi movies is to prove something to someone who had said that 'What can a person who is not even from Chennai but from a remote place close to it do in Bollywood?' Vijay and I too have the same passion for Tamil as others. In fact, every cell in my body is Tamil."
Outside the launch venue...
Chaos prevailed outside the venue of the event for a brief period as scores of fans turned up for the audio launch at the star hotel, forcing the staff to restrict access to the venue. Traffic was a choc-o-block and even dignitaries who were looking to get into the venue found it tough to do so. Vijay's dad S A Chandrashekaran was among the celebrities who had to struggle to get inside the venue.