The pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has roped in the Chennai film industry to increase awareness of the Sri Lankan Tamil problem among the people of Tamil Nadu, and to collect money for the rehabilitation of Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka.
Three TNA MPs, MK Sivajilingam, S Ariyanethiran and S Pathmanathan, met leading figures of the Tamil Nadu film industry at the Nadigar Sangam (Actors' Guild) in Chennai on February 6.
Among the stars present were Sarath Kumar, President of the Nadigar Sangam; veteran actors Manorama and SS Chandran; and the latest heart throb, Abbas. Sarath Kumar and SS Chandran combine political activism with acting.
"The meeting decided to organise Star Nites all over Tamil Nadu to collect money for the 210, 000 Tamil refugees displaced by the war in the past one year," Sivajilingam told Hindustan Times on Friday.
"Soon, it might be like Tamil Nadu of 1983, when Tamil film stars got on to the streets and led processions condemning the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan state against the Tamils," he said.
LTTE hosts top film directors
Even prior to this, the LTTE had created links with the Tamil Nadu film industry.
Prabhakaran, who would refuse to meet special envoys from the West and Japan, readily gave an audience to two leading Tamil film directors, Mahendran and Bharathiraja, in his hideout in the Wanni some time ago.
Prabhakaran is a film buff, but he prefers Western action films to romantic and soppy Tamil films and Clint Eastwood is his favourite.
However, he knows the importance of popular Tamil films as an instrument of propaganda.
Bharathiraja told Prabhakaran that he was like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, which would have immensely pleased the Tiger chieftain because Subhas Bose is his role model.
Director Mahendran followed up his visit by sending his son John Mahendran to direct a full-length colour feature film.
The film Aaniver (Tamil for 'main root' but used as an equivalent of 'sheet anchor') was shot entirely in the LTTE-controlled Wanni with the blessings and backing of the LTTE in 2006.
The stars, Nanda and Madhumita, were from Tamil Nadu, as were the technicians.
The film, about the experiences of a young Tamil Nadu lady journalist in the war-torn Sri Lankan North East, had brought out the tragedy of the rape and murder of the Jaffna school girl, Krishanthi Kumaraswamy, in 1996, and the exodus of people from Jaffna to the Wanni in 1995.
Aaniver was shown publicly in Canada and Europe to expatriate Sri Lanka Tamil audiences, but not in Tamil Nadu or Sri Lanka.