In a stinging criticism, the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today hit out at arch rival M Karunanidhi and his family for their alleged ‘stranglehold’ over the Tamil film industry during the DMK regime and for ’not allowing’ others to grow.

Inaugurating the celebrations of 100 years of Indian cinema at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor stadium here, jointly organised by the state government and South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, which got off to a glittering start, Jayalalithaa, without naming DMK or its chief Karunanidhi said everybody knew the plight of the industry before she assumed power.

“On top of it all, after I took over, the film industry is functioning independently for the past two years,” she said after listing out the many pro-reel world measures.

These included several concessions like encouraging small producers by increasing subsidy, sanctioning Rs 50 lakh for the Chennai international film festival, more beneficiaries in the welfare board for film industry workers besides bringing video piracy under the stringent Goonda Act to check the menace.

Stating that Tamil Nadu and its film industry had the magnanimity in providing livelihood to all those who came from outside the state, she said “the plight of such an illustrious Tamil film industry two years ago can be understood without me saying that.”

It may be recalled the DMK regime faced strong criticism and charges of supporting growth of production houses run by Karunanidhi’s family members and undue ‘interference and domination’ over Kollywood.

“In this world, there are some who feel it would be okay if only they lived. There are also people who feel that they should live and let others live as well,” Jayalalithaa said.

Narrating the anecdote of how a bad man missed his chance at redemption and survival by his trait of preventing others from growing, she said those who tried to boss over Tamil film world found themselves in a fate similar to that man.

“Self-centric people who feel it would be sufficient if they lived always would want to eliminate not only those who are stumbling blocks for their growth, but also those who are considered as competition,” she said without naming anyone.

Showering encomiums on her mentor and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran, she said the name of MGR came to one’s mind when (the topic) of dominance of films over politics cropped up.

“I am proud, when I reflect that I too had worked in the film industry,” she said underlining that the cinema industry was indispensable for its role and contribution to society.

Earlier, she traced the origin and growth of Indian cinema and recounted the stellar contribution of a huge list of stalwarts in various segments of the dream industry, starting with Dadasaheb Phalke, who produced ‘Raja Harishchandra in 1913.

(This article was published on September 21, 2013)
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