Tamil actor Vijay thanked his fans and supporters in the film industry for defending his film Mersal, which was criticised by BJP leaders. BJP accused that Vijay, “a practising Christian,” was running a “hatred campaign” against the Narendra Modi government.
Vijay’s thank you message broke almost a week’s silence by the actor after the film was attacked. In his message, for the first time, the actor also used his full Christian name, C.Joseph Vijay.
While the controversy first began over ‘Mersal’ discussing the Centre’s pet projects like Goods and Service Tax and Digital India, BJP national secretary H. Raja turned it into a communal issue citing Vijay’s religion.
Raja shared a copy of the actor’s voter ID card showing his full name, Joseph Vijay, captioning it “Truth is bitter.”
In a fitting reply to those who targeted his Christian roots, Vijay issued the thanks note on a letter pad with his name in red and bold, wrote “Jesus Saves.”
Sources close to him said it was for the first time he introduced himself as C. Joseph Vijay before his fans.
“He was always Vijay to everyone. Who bothers about the surname of an actor? He has rarely issued similar public statements for his fans as most such communications were video messages. I do not remember him using his official name in a public statement addressing fans. When politicians try to put him in bad light for having a Christian identity, this is a strong reply,” said a source.
S A Chandrasekhar, Vijay’s father and noted Tamil director-producer, had earlier reacted to BJP’s accusations. Chandra-sekhar said that he left the columns of religion and caste vacant when he admitted his son to school.
“Why is a national leader worrying about my son’s Christian surname? Why is that significant in the life of an artiste? What is the problem even if he is a practising Christian? We see cinema as a medium, but they see it as a weapon and get scared of dialogues,” he said.