‘I Can Only Laugh At Attempts to Discredit Me’: Tamil Actor-Activist Vishal Krishna On His Shocking Arrest

‘I Can Only Laugh At Attempts to Discredit Me’: Tamil Actor-Activist Vishal Krishna On His Shocking Arrest

Vishal Krishna was arrested over charges of financial irregularities. The actor takes on the allegations against him in this exclusive interview

Tamil actor-activist  Vishal Krishna was arrested on December 20 for breaking the lock of the Tamil Film Producers’ Council(TFPC) of which he is the elected President, and entering forcibly. Disgruntled producers who locked Vishal out have accused him of financial irregularities.  But the actor, now freed  after  a favourable  ruling by the honourable  court,  remains unfazed, as he asserts his  right to bring a change   in this  exclusive  interview with  Subhash K Jha

That arrest must have shocked you?
Very much so. I was shocked.  I knew I had made many enemies….or rather I wouldn’t call them enemies, but people who are not on the same page as me…Ironically they slapped me with charges from the wrong section and arrested me. To my good fortune, the honourable Judge ordered my immediate release. It just strengthens my belief in our country’s judicial system, and also in my belief that the truth, which always hurts the untruthful, will always prevail. Bullying tactics won’t work with me. When they tried to stop me, I refused to listen to them. Who are they try to stop me? I am an elected President of the TFPC. How can they prevent me from going into my own office?

You took over as the President of the TFDC with a lot of hope and passion. Do you see recent developments as discouraging?
Not at all. We ’ve scored many successes, the biggest of them being the number of hit films in Tamil in 2018. It is the highest number in recent times. Do you know why this happened? Because producers co-operated and did not insist on releasing two or more films on the same  Friday. Instead, the films were spaced out and came out one after the other week after week. Even when producers insisted on releasing films in a bunch on a festive weekend, we convinced them to not do this. It is a big change for producers.

And we  Indians don’t care for change unless forced?
Exactly. It takes a lot of effort to bring about any change in any industry or any section of society  for that matter. There will be voices  of  dissent  wherever there is change. Even in parliament  you have a vocal opposition. But don’t confuse  bullying with a healthy opposition. I welcome  healthy and debate and dissent, not these pressure tactics.

Disgruntled  producers   have accused  you of misappropriating funds and even being hand-in-glove with film piracy  outfits?
(laughs loudly) As far as being hand-in-glove with those very elements that I’ve been fighting against goes, I can only laugh at these absurd attempts  to discredit me. Misappropriation of funds…every  single penny is accounted  for. There are  bills for every transaction. I come from a background where I  don’t need  to make money inappropriately. By God’s grace,e my career as an actor is  going well. In fact,t I have to give up acting offers  to look after my work at the TFPC.

How and why did  your opponents come up with such  wild allegations?
I will  tell you  what their  main problem with me is. These  disgruntled elements feel  I  will be contesting  Lok Sabha elections in  2019. I don’t know why that should intimidate them. All I  know  is, they  don’t want radical changes  in  the  Tamil film industry. All along , the  entertainment industry has been working in  a particular way. Anyone who tries to make it more organized, more transparent and  corporate-like, more like a professional industry, is bound to be seen as a threat to the  status quo. And as far as contesting Lok Sabha elections, let me reiterate I am NOT contesting any elections in 2019 or  at any time in the foreseeable  future.

Did you  see these disgruntled elements coming at you?
Oh yes, they have been gathering around with their  protests against me. But to  go to these absurd lengths…I am so glad the  honourable  court took immediate action. Now  I am going ahead  and pressing charges against those who  have made these allegations against me.

How do you  look back  on the incident ?
Every  incident good or bad is  a learning experience. This incident has me stronger and wiser.  I  now realise  that  your enemies can go to any lengths. I remained  calm and composed throughout the  episode. It gave me  a lot  of  reason  to laugh. They wanted  me to sign papers to avoid arrest. I said if I’ve committed a crime I’d rather  go to jail for it. Why would I go to jail for a crime I haven’t committed ? And  why should  I sign a paper  to not be arrested for ‘unlawful assembly’ when I am  trying to enter  my own office? Please arrest those who tried to stop me from entering my office.

What  next?
We  go on with what we were doing. We are planning a  big event to honour Ilaiyaraja. We would  rather focus on  fruitful  matters than waste time in  kitchen politics.  I am glad of the  support I got from the entertainment industry. As  for those feeling shaken about my political plans, I repeat I am not contesting any  elections in 2019.

So no spiritual  politics  for you?
I first need  to know what  it  is. For now, no parliamentary politics  for  me. I want to get down on the ground level,   bruise and  dirty my legs and hands if I have to.

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