Kamal Haasan under fire for comments against Saint Thyagaraja

Several Carnatic musicians have condemned actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan’s comment on Saint composer Thyagaraja during a recent video chat show with actor Vijay Sethupathi.

The video went on trending, as cinema-goers were in for a treat to catch their favorite stars interact about everything right from films to politics. But a certain statement made by Hassan on saint Thyagaraja during the interaction has now come back to haunt him.

During his interaction with Vijay Sethupathi, Kamal Hassan while speaking about music, the latter’s statement about Saint Thyagaraja ‘begging in praise of Lord Rama’ didn’t go well with Carnatic musicians.

Several Carnatic musicians have come together and signed a petition demanding an apology from the actor. Palghat Ramprasad, Carnatic musician and follower of saint Thyagaraja started the petition online.

According to Ramprasad, the statements made by Kamal Haasan discredits the followers of Saint Thyagaraja. The petition called out Kamal Haasan for hurting Carnatic musicians and those who follow the Bhakti Marge. Until now, more than 11000 people have provided their signatures against the comments of the actor. Many renowned musicians from Caranatic background have signed the petition as well.

The petition says, “Every Carnatic musician, regardless of how they exhibit their affiliation to the outside world, deep within themselves know that they owe every bit of their basic livelihood and professional success, to Sri Thyagaraja’s contribution to Carnatic music. In that regard, it is hard to find a parallel in any professional field as to how many thousands or millions of families’ incomes are generated owing to significant contributions of a single person to the field.

The specific reference to Thygarajar and Lord Rama, also suggests the negatively pointed target on a specific religion/caste, which is indeed an insult to the followers of this faith: because we all know that in the past and present, there have been several saints and scholars from various religions who have earned a livelihood – cannot stoop to lows of mentioning that as ‘begging’ – in praise of Gods of the religions they belong to. Also, the Unchvrithi he did was owing to his Bhakti, and not agendas outside of that.”

Carnatic singer Mahathi  took to Facebook to condemn Kamal Hassan’s statement. “I am an ardent fan of Shri Kamal Hassan’s artistic works, but his recent comment definitely irks. It is so important that an artist of his stature ensures that he chooses the right words and presents his points clearly.”

Mahathi also said none should hurt the feelings of others and try to change them to suit their own thoughts and ideologies. “Thus said, nothing/none can belittle the greatest Composer Saint Thyagaraja and his works,” she added.