"Maiam and Neelam are one!" Kamal Hassan at the launch event of director Pa. Ranjith's Neelam Books

(This article is authored by Alar)

As part of his Neelam cultural centre, renowned Tamil film director Pa.Ranjith has launched a new project called "Neelam Books," the objective of which is to showcase works of poetry and literature with the aim of raising political awareness. On Sunday, in Egmore, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan opened the event by praising the initiative and calling that caste his "biggest political rival."

President of the Makkal Needhi Maiyam and actor Kamal Hassan gave the inaugural address at the launch of the "Neelam Books. He spoke, "My biggest rival - my political rival - is caste. I have been saying this since I was 21 years old and I still say it. My opinion has never changed. After the invention of the wheel, man’s biggest creation is God. Don’t forget that. We cannot accept the fact that what we created is now attacking us,"

He furtherly stressed , "Caste is a terrible weapon and leaders like Dr B R Ambedkar, who came three generations before me, also fought for this. The words may be different, but Maiam and Neelam are one – the aim is the same. It is people who have created politics and politics is for the people. But we have turned the lens around and talking about the governing party and those in governance. Politicians are elected by the people and when that is realised, then democracy will flourish." He also mentioned that even though the names Maiam and Neelam are spelled differently, the effort put forth is the same.

Ranjith has said that he only wants to keep books that help people understand politics and encourage them to be politically responsible in his "Neelam books," setting them apart from more conventional literary works and works with no actual political content. He said, "We have decided to feature books — be it poetry, literature and so on — written to create political awareness and there won’t be books that are written primarily for commercial purposes," he said." In addition to that, they run a channel on YouTube known as Neelam Social, where they upload videos that cover topics such as culture, society, infotainment.

On work front, Pa. Ranjith is directing his next Thangalaan featuing the Chiyaan Vikram for the first time which will speak about real events in Kolar Gold Factory fields, The film's announcement video dropped on last year Diwali and sparked the anticipation after witnessed the veteran star in never seen whopping look. The film will be composed by GV Prakash Kumar, which will be banked by the director's own poduction house, Neelam Productions and Studio Green.

It's worth to remember that Pa. Ranjith announced a year ago that he will collaborate with Kamal Haasan on a film that is intended to appeal as  rural flick. Ranjith disclosed that the city of Madurai features prominently in the style of  Virumaandi, which he cited as one of his all-time favourite movies. He also mentioned that Kamal Haasan will be appearing in the film in a new persona.