For the first time in each other's political career, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and actor-turned-politician, Ulaga Nayagan Kamal Haasan sat and discussed a slew of topics from politics to cinema. On a green and serene ambiance, both the leaders had touched on the state of the country and they had sounded happy about the rendezvous, that was shared on Monday, which came at a high time when debates are doing rounds about their possible political affiliation.
Both the leaders met in Delhi after Kamal Haasan attended Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra, upon the latter's invitation, in the national capital. In a 23-minute long conversation, both the leaders have left several takeaways including a surprise gift from Rahul Gandhi to Kamal Haasan to the legendary actor's remarks about what was the idea behind making an everlasting movie 'Hey Ram', which got released in 2000 and went to the Oscars in the same year.
Their conversation began with a gentle smile and handshake and when Rahul Gandhi thanked Kamal Haasan for coming to Delhi and attending Bharat Jodo Yatra, Kamal Haasan said, "No, don't, because I felt that its my duty as an Indian to voice my anguish and apprehensions at what's happening." In some time into the rendezvous, Rahul Gandhi took Kamal Haasan to unveil a surprise gift.
Rahul Gandhi gifted a portrait of tiger, drinking water, to Kamal Haasan. Before unveiling, the Congress leader said, "My nephew is a photographer. So I said, Listen I want to give a little present to my friend Kamal Haasan and I said give me one of your pictures as a gift to him. So I want you to guess what he came up with." When Kamal Haasan express he has no idea, the Congress leader takes the actor near the portrait and unveiled it.
After seeing the potrait of tiger, Kamal Haasan was heard asking, "Oh, he shot this?". Rahul Gandhi says, "Yes, he shot this and that's for you because it tells us your approach, your attitude, your life, and the fact that you are a great Indian and a great Tamil." After the unveiling the gift, both the leaders delved into a discussion about politics and cinema during which Kamal Haasan opened up why he made Hey Ram.
Kamal Haasan said, "My father was a Congress man, but my environment made me a bitter critic of Gandhiji when I was in my teens. Around 24-25, I discovered Gandhiji on my own, and over the years, exponentially. I have become a fan. And that's me to explain in my self view, to actually correct yourself, and say sorry, that's why I made Hey Ram where I played a parallel assassin, wanting to kill Gandhiji and as he goes nearer to the person and the truth, he changes but its too late. Somebody else does the job that he wanted to do but he changed his mind. That's the story of Hey Ram."
Rahul Gandhi asks, "So, you came up with the idea?", for which Kamal Haasan said, "Yes, that is my way of saying sorry to my Bapu." The actor then spoke about communal harmony in India and contended that peace prevails until someone deliberately disturbs it. He said, "If you got to places like Kerala, amity prevails, until you doctor it. I think there are more sides to it than just Hindu and Muslim, we have to understand that this country will only flourish with its plurality."
Speaking about Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra, Kamal Haasan, who joined the yatra on December 24, in Delhi, said he wanted to celebrate it as it is reaching out to the people and lending the ear. During a talk about the Tamil people, Kamal Haasan said that Tamils over their language just like people who speak other languages. Tamil Nadu need not be seen as an island, Tamils have had opposed governments on several occasions when their voices were unheard but that doesn't mean opposing India.
When Kamal Haasan asked Rahul Gandhi about China's encroaching on the Indian territory for which the Congress leader highlighted that the government has miscalculated the threat and said that the Prime Minister is denying the reports of Chinese aggression. Rahul Gandhi said, "In the 21st century, one has to have a global view about security, and that's where I think our government has miscalculated."
He further said, "We constantly hear about what's going on at the border, and the fact of the matter is China has taken 2,000 square kilometer of our territory. And frankly, we haven't said anything. The military has clearly said that they are sitting in our territory, but the Prime Minister says that nobody has come. This sends a very clear message to China - 'we can do whatever we want, and India will not respond."
Rahul Gandhi said China is adopting the same principle with India as Russia is with Ukraine. "Essentially, what the Russians have done in Ukraine is that they have said we do not want Ukraine to have a strong relationship with the west and they have basically told the Ukrainians that if you will have a strong relationship with the west, we will alter your geography. That is the exact same principle that can be applied to India", Rahul Gandhi added.
He further said, "What the Chinese are saying to us is that be careful with what you are doing, because we will alter your geography. We will enter Ladakh, we will enter Arunachal Pradesh, and what I can see is them building a platform for that type of an approach." Speaking about his yatra, Rahul Gandhi underlined the importance of social harmony and stated, "The single most important thing in the 21st century is that a country have internal cohesion. That there's harmony in the country, that people are not fighting, there's peace in the country, and the country has a vision. The point is not going to war, the point is being in a position where you cannot be attacked."
He opined, "There is a link between a weak economy, a confused nation without vision, hatred and anger, and the Chinese sitting in our territory. Because they know that we are dealing with internal confusions and lack of harmony, so they can just go in and do whatever they want." Sharing their conversation on Twitter, Kamal Haasan wrote, "A conversation between two proud Indians. All other identities blur when it comes to the nation. Have a great united Indian new year."
A conversation between two proud Indians. All other identities blur when it comes to the Nation . @rahulgandhi— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) January 2, 2023
Have a great united Indian new year. https://t.co/TyGHi6ZVPh
‘Hey Ram’, Khadi, Films and how only India, not the West, can take on China!— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 2, 2023
My conversation with @ikamalhaasan on what shapes Indian politics and culture.https://t.co/RiUNzGdE1k pic.twitter.com/lWUtiTd2xx