Reacting to actor Ajith Kumar’s complaint that actors were forced to participate in political and social events, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday spoke out against forcefully bringing politics into the film world and forcing anyone to take part in such events.

At a function organised to felicitate the Chief Minister for granting land for housing scheme for the film industry workers, Ajith wanted the Chief Minister to issue a direction that film personalities should not be arm-twisted to attend social and political events.

While the entire gathering in the Jawaharalal Nehru Stadium seemed taken by surprise, actor Rajinikanth, who was sitting beside Mr. Karunanidhi, gave a standing ovation to Ajith.

“If we don’t attend the protest, we are portrayed as anti-Tamils. On the one hand, they want us to participate in political events and on the other hand they threaten us not to enter politics. What is wrong in our entering politics if we are expected to participate in political and social events?” Ajith asked.

Though he did not mention Ajith’s name, the Chief Minister said everyone had gathered in the auditorium not because of politics, but as part of the art world.

He said he was against mixing politics with film world, but he could not be held responsible if politics entered on its own.

The Chief Minister said it would be nice if politics brought benefits to the film industry. “But I don’t want to create trouble by bringing it to the film world,” he said.

Earlier joining issue with Ajith, the guest of the evening Amitabh Bachchan, directors Bharathiraja and V.C. Guhanathan and actor Sarath Kumar clarified that no one was forced to attend Saturday’s function.

Bachchan said he was not arm-twisted by any politician to attend the function. “I have come here because of my love for the Tamil film world,” he added.

Stating that Tamil cinema remained an example for skill and discipline, he said Mumbai needed to learn a lot from the Tamil film world.

Actor Rajinikanth stressed the need to ensure that the poor among the film industrial workers were benefited from the housing scheme.

Actor Kamal Haasan, music director Ilayaraja, lyricist Vairamuthu and many others spoke. The event was marked by various cultural programmes by film and TV artists.