Noted actor Prakash Raj today said he respects superstars Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth and Kannada actor Upendra as artistes but that does not mean he would accept them as political leaders due to their fame.
The actor, 52, told reporters at the Press Club here that the political aspirants will have to prove their mettle before the people choose them as their representatives.
"I have respect for them as actors but that does not mean that I will vote for them. They have to demonstrate how much they understand our culture, the problems and how they will respond to it," Raj said.
Referring to rumours that he would join superstar Kamal Haasan's yet-to-be-formed political outfit, the actor said politics was not on his "agenda" at this point of time.
"I have been repeatedly saying that I am not going to join any political party. At this point of time, joining politics is not on my agenda," he said.
Raj also alleged that his commercial advertisements were recently blocked from being aired.
Without taking any names, he said the advertising firm told him his name has been mired in a controversy and so it could not be broadcast.
He said even Bollywood stars Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have faced similar situations in the past.
"Weren't they removed from being ambassadors to certain things? Weren't some of their commercials stopped? They are stopping my commercials too. But I will not ask you why you are hitting me. I will not tell you the way you are hitting me is hurting me because that will make you stronger," Raj said.
The National Award-winning actor said the Internet trolls have been hitting at the thought process of the social media users since the last three years and dubbed it as a dangerous trend.
"Since 2014, whatever is happening, is becoming dirtier... (It) is taking away identities. That is very dangerous. It is hitting at the thought process," he said.
Raj also referred to BJP MP Pratap Simha's comments against him after he criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his "silence" on those "celebrating" the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh here in September.
"If you talk you will be trolled. Our own MP Pratap Simha... He should understand. I don't even know him. When I questioned the prime minister, you (Simha) talk below the belt? They believe their leaders are doing a good job, so nobody should question them," he said.
"But I feel they are not doing their work properly, so I will ask them and they need to answer me," the actor added.
Later, Raj took to Twitter to slam a section of the press for misquoting him.
"This is what I said... Actors should not come into politics only because they are popular. It's a disaster. They should come with a clear perception of the issues facing the country and win the trust of the people. And we should not vote as fans, but as responsible citizens," he posted.
He also wrote an open letter to the Bengaluru chapter of the Press Club, criticising the media for "distorting facts" in the presence of "journalists at their club".
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)