The actor spoke about caste during the promotional event of his upcoming film with director Raju Murugan
Actor Karthi is mired in controversy after his recent remarks on caste went viral, albeit for the wrong reasons. During the promotions of his upcoming film, Japan, Karthi said that 'he does not know caste' as he was born and brought up in Chennai.
The 'Madras' connection
It all started when the actor was responding to a question on his iconic film Madras (2014), which was helmed by anti-caste filmmaker Pa Ranjith. Karthi said that having grown up in Chennai, he only knows the names of his friends and not their caste. As for the wall in Madras (which was a representation of caste in the film), he only saw its connection with politics.
"Like a foreign film, I only saw the politics around the wall. The reason I did Madras was because the characters in the film were interesting." He added that he didn't associate the film with caste and that if someone had a different perspective, it's their way of looking at the film."
Madras made by a vocal anti-caste filmmaker
What's notable is that Madras is an iconic anti-caste film set in north Chennai, where the oppressed communities and the working class population live. The film was lauded for portraying north Chennai in a positive light after being stereotyped as a hub of crime. The film also questioned caste politics, and how regional parties failed to rise up to the Dalit communities.
Karthi added that it was Pa Ranjith, who introduced him to the term social justice. This comment has also drawn a lot of flak and many have questioned him if he hadn't heard the names of Dravidian leaders Periyar, Annadurai and M Karunanidhi, who fought for social justice.
Sivakumar's video embracing endogamy does the rounds
Meanwhile, a video of Karthi’s father, veteran actor Sivakumar talking about endogamy has also surfaced on the internet. In the video, Sivakumar claims that the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, the late J Jayalalithaa had urged Karthi to marry within his own caste as the family had already had a love marriage (Karthi's elder brother Suriya married Jyotika).
Netizens lash out at Karthi
Many have questioned Karthi's ignorance on caste and added that his statement reeked of privilege as he hailed from a dominant community. Some have also stated that the only reason he could say he claimed to now know about caste was because he was privileged.