'Kuselan' Rajni clears air over apology controversy

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Chennai, Aug 2 (UNI) Tamil Superstar Rajnikanth today sought to clear the air over the controversy pertaining to his remarks over the Hogenakkal issue and the subsequent ''apology'' he tendered after Kannadigas threatened to stall the screening of his new film ''Kuselan'' in Karnataka.

Speaking at a function organised to distribute financial assistance to film technicians as promised during the audio launch of the film he said his stand was clear.

He denied that his statement and the appeal to Kannadigas not to stall the release of his film was an apology for his earlier criticism of Karnataka for opposing the drinking water project.

He said contrary to what was projected in the media, all he wanted to say was that those who indulged in violence in the name of opposing the project should be punished.

''I did not mean all the Kannadigas. I don't want to act on any speculation. Let's not prolong the matter,'' Rajni said in reference to his speech at a protest-fast organised by Tamil film industry on the Hogenakkal issue in April this year.

Rajnikanth said he should have clarified this in April itself.

Earlier, Rajni's mentor and veteran director K Balachandar said he was disturbed over news reports in a section of the press on the issue.

''But I am happy that film-makers like Bharathiraja, Seeman and others are supporting Rajni,'' he added.

Director of 'Kuselan', P Vasu said, ''I had been with Rajni for the last few years. I know his intentions and actions. He wanted to ensure that his fans in Karnataka should see the film, and producers, distributors and theatre owners should also benefit.'' Rajni's reported remarks in Kannada that he had learnt a lesson in public speaking, on the eve of the release of 'Kuselan' drew criticism from his own colleagues in Kollywood.

Though the Kannada organisations lifted the ban on the film, his remarks were seen as an apology to appease the Kannadigas and his fans reacted angrily, tearing the posters of the film in some parts of Tamil Nadu.

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