learn from it. And there was glamour, with the south’s leading ladies, including Tamannaah Bhatia and Shriya Saran sharing the stage and holding forth on Bollywood versus Kollywood.
Only an actor of Kamal Haasan’s stature could have upstaged the political drama of the conclave’s opening act. “If you want a ban on jallikattu, let’s also ban biryani,” Haasan thundered, saying that as “a proud Tamilian”, the sport, which was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014, was “about taming the bull and not doing physical harm”. Days before the January 15 Pongal holiday when the sport is traditionally played in parts of Tamil Nadu, Haasan ignited a storm. The Tamil Nadu government was pressed into saying it would reopen the issue, but the apex court held firm.
Union minister and BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu made the political headlines on day two, when he spoke of the party’s plans to go big in the south with a ‘vacuum’ emerging following Jayalalithaa’s passing. “The practice of those who do not like the DMK chasing the AIADMK and vice-versa is changing,” he said. Ever the astute politician, Competition today is not just within India, it is with the world. We could do more as a bloc, coordinate on some counts while retaining individual strengths.” K.T. RAMA RAO, IT and industries minister, Telangana