Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday came down on critics questioning the growing presence of his family in the Tamil film industry, by drawing parallels with veteran Hindi actor Prithiviraj Kapoor, whose next of kin, he said, still rule Hindi cinema.
Responding to criticism in a section of the media about the growing instances of his grandsons taking the plunge in Tamil cinema, either as producers or actors, Karunanidhi wanted to know what was wrong with them choosing the medium.
"The iconic Prithviraj Kapoor, who acted in some of the biggest hits, was a Rajya Sabha member for eight years. Did not his son Raj Kapoor, also an RS MP, take to acting and direction," the 86-year-old DMK president asked.
"His brothers Shammi and Shashi Kapoor were also actors. Today Prithiviraj Kapoor's grandson and granddaughters are also in the film industry," he noted.
"So what is wrong with his grandsons working in cinema," he asked while launching a housing scheme for professionals of the cinema and TV industry in Chennai.
Karunandhi's grandsons, Udayanidhi Stalin and Dayanidhi Azhagiri have floated their own film production companies, while one of his grandnephews and brother of Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, Kalanidhi Maran, who co-owns media empire Sun TV Group, has also stepped into production.
His latest venture is Rajnikant-starrer "Endiran" (Robot).
Karunanidhi recalled Rajnikant was not the only actor in his family as his son-in-law Danush was also a popular Tamil star.
"But I am being targeted since I am striving for the welfare of the Tamils," he alleged.
Asserting that he did not view politics and art as separate entities in his career, he said he had combined both to climb the ladder of success.
"There has always been a debate over whether art (cinema) or politics brought me fame. I would like to say I don't see them as separate entities. I have always blended art with politics and that has allowed me and my movement (DMK) to achieve success," he said.