Thiruvananthapuram: Noted South Indian actor Prakash Raj has said artistes should resist any attempt to silence dissent.

Raj, who is here to participate in the ongoing 22nd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), said creative people need to stand united and work towards coexistence in these trying times.

"People like us should not deter and work for humanity and coexistence," he said. Referring to protests against films such as "Padmavati", "S Durga" and "Nude", the National Award-winning actor said any movement unleashed against a work of art was unjustified. The actor said it was unfair to oppose films and give a political colour to dialogues from the movies.

Raj said attempts to curb dissent was not a new phenomenon and country has been subjected to it since Independence. Commenting on the current scenario, he, however, added that today "one is trying to put a thought on us and if anybody goes against it, they are stopped." The actor said history is the witness that elements opposing the voice of dissent cannot exist for a long time.

Raj added, "Whoever thinks that he is bigger than everyone will be shown his place." Reminiscing his friendship with long-time close friend journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was murdered in Bengaluru in
September, he said if one voice is silenced, stronger ones will rise. "I am speaking out now and I want to say that if one voice is silenced, stronger voices will come out... Perhaps I am such a voice now," Raj said. Asked whether he is planning to take the political plunge, the actor said that he was not interested in politics.

"It is not on my agenda," he said. PTI