Interview Hindi Tamil

Why can’t an actor become a politician, says Andrea Jeremiah of Kamal Haasan

In an exclusive interview, the actress speaks about her Vishwaroopam co-star and director's political journey.

Shriram Iyengar

Andrea Jeremiah's turn as an intelligence officer in Vishwaroopam (2013) turned to be one of the red herrings of the film.

Five years later, the actress returns on screen with co-star and director Kamal Haasan in the second part, Vishwaroopam 2.

Slated to be released on 10 August, the film arrives even as Kamal Haasan has begun his political journey.

In a conversation with, Andrea Jeremiah said this was purely coincidental. "It’s just an uncanny coincidence that he has chosen to enter politics at the same time as the movie is being released," she said.

While fans are already marking out the political angle of the film with Kamal Haasan's own secular ideology, Andrea suggests that the film was made five years ago, long before the actor-filmmaker began harbouring any serious political ambitions.

"People might think the film is political because of his political ambition," she said. "But the truth is that this film was made five years ago, before he even thought of being a politician. Every single scene or line in the movie was shot five years ago." 

Asked if she had had any inkling that her co-star would step into the political arena, Andrea denied it. "Nothing whatsoever. Nothing. That time he was very happy being an actor-director. He did take some time off in between because of an injury. In that same period, a lot of things came along." 

Andrea Jeremiah and Kamal Haasan in Vishwaroopam 2

Talking about the flux in Tamil Nadu politics, Andrea said, "This kind of thought is happening to a lot of people on different levels. Maybe for Kamal sir it happened when he is ready to enter politics. For someone like me, I don’t wish to enter politics, but I wish to be more aware, be more responsible as a citizen."

While her character in Vishwaroopam is an active intelligence officer, Andrea admitted that she was not 'politically aware' till the act of demonetization in November 2016. "To be honest, these thoughts are occurring to a lot of people," she said. "A lot of educated Indians who want what’s best for our country. For someone like me, I never used to care who was in power. But in the past year, especially since demonetization, I have become more politically aware.

"When demonetization came, it slammed everybody irrespective of their craft, caste, socio-economic status. Then, at some point, you think, ‘I have to be more aware. I have to be more involved as a citizen. If I have to live in a better country, I have to contribute towards that'."

In the age of the Twitter troll, that is not an easy task. The actress admits that there will always be someone criticizing film stars entering politics. "If you take Tamil Nadu, the most revered and respected politicians of our state have come from a film background," she pointed out. "The thing politicians and actors have in common is that people tend to adore them."

She continued, "If businessmen can become politicians, if a chaiwallah [tea vendor] can become a politician, why can’t an actor? There are people with criminal records allowed, people with rape charges allowed to become politicians, but an actor! Do people have an issue with that? Come on." 

Apart from Vishwaroopam 2, the actress will be seen with Dhanush in Vada Chennai (2018). The film, directed by Vetrimaaran, is part of a trilogy.

While the actress refused to confirm the story, she did admit that "this project is Vetrimaaran’s baby. He has been living with this script for a very long time. So, it was about time we got down and made the film. It is a film that is close to all our hearts. We have a very strong emotional connect."

Vishwaroopam 2 will be released on 10 August. It is called Vishwaroop 2 in Hindi.