Siddharth criticises Thackeray trailer, stands up for #MeToo on Twitter: Decoding Tamil actor's social media persona

Gita Aravamudan

Jan 03, 2019 13:11:40 IST

Multilingual actor Siddharth, who is known for his bold and often controversial remarks on social media, has recently been in the news again.

This time it was the furor over his tweets after the release of the trailer of the upcoming film on Bal Thackeray. Both the Hindi and Marathi versions of the trailer were released and it was the latter in particular which caught the actor’s ire. He tweeted:

And, why was he so angry?  Because of a phrase which was continuously repeated in the Marathi trailer. It was the slogan "Lungi uttao pungi bajao".

Sidharth’s remarks stirred up quite a controversy. While most agreed with him that the phrase was insulting to South Indians, they also pointed out that it was exactly what Thackeray wanted it to be. These were words used quite freely by Thackeray in real life and any biopic which aimed to give a true representation of the man would have to incorporate them into the script.  Others pointed out that similarly Tamil films had shown violent scenes of anti-Hindi agitations which could also be interpreted as hate mongering. And then came Siddharth’s next controversial remark:

Some months prior to this, Siddharth had got another round of flak when he tweeted about the passing away of DMK leader. He was not the only one who praised him. But he got trolled all the same when he said:

Again while most agreed that Karunanidhi was indeed a Titan, they said he was by no means the last or only Titan. When the MeToo movement hit the Tamil film industry, Siddharth jumped into the fray.  In October he stood up for singer Chinnmayi who accused lyricist Vairmuthu of sexual harassment.

He also tweeted:

And, when film maker Leena Manimekali tweeted:

Siddharth stood up for her too. He said he was with her and that her courage would inspire others to come out too. A little later he revealed that Susi Ganesan was threatening him for supporting Leena, but, he tweeted he was supporting her now more than ever:

A few months before that Siddharth’s Malayalam debut film Kammara Sambahavam was released. In that he acted with the controversial actor Dileep who was accused of orchestrating the rape of a leading actress.  That specific incident had created a great upheaval and even led to the forming of a women in Cinema Collective by some of the leading women film makers, actors and singers, editors and others in the Malayalam film industry. In anticipation of the film’s release, Siddharth took to twitter and praised Dileep.

Some of his fans, especially women got particularly upset by his tweets where he heaped praise on “Dileep Etta”. One of them tweeted

So, who is the true Siddharth?  The cute boy who made his debut in the 2003 Tamil hit film Boys? The young man who acted in Rang De Basanti and ended up dating his co-star Soha Ali Khan? The valiant, socially conscious actor who during the Chennai floods of 2015 took to the streets to help people, organised relief efforts and got his hands and feet dirty working in flood hit areas?

He is outspoken on twitter and his tweets certainly do not display a run-of-the-mill attitude. He has often been called a “chocolate boy’ both for his looks and the roles he takes, and also maybe for the number of high profile women he has dated.

Is he politically ambitious? Maybe not as of now. But in Tamil Nadu politics and films are so closely intertwined that one can never predict if and when he might take the jump.

Updated Date: Jan 03, 2019 13:11:40 IST