Tale of Two Tamil Stars

The Day After - - CONTENT - By SU­NIL DANG Feed­back on:re­porter@dayaf­terindia.com

The big ques­tion haunt­ing Tamil Nadu pol­i­tics ever since the demise of Jay­alalithaa is – will yet an­other film star ever be­comes the chief min­is­ter of Tamil Nadu? The an­swer is blow­ing in the winds as both Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have wo­ken up from their hi­ber­na­tion and thrown hints about join­ing pol­i­tics.

How­ever, the same politi­cians (cut­ting across po­lit­i­cal par­ties) have a new favourite ques­tion at pub­lic meet­ings: Where were the two Tamil cin­ema leg­ends when Jay­alalithaa was alive and rul­ing with an iron fist for al­most six years? But, now with Jay­alalithaa miss­ing from the big pic­ture (Tamil Nadu’s 70 MM pol­i­tics), both the su­per­star’s have sud­denly be­come key play­ers in the on­go­ing po­lit­i­cal drama. They have re­al­ized that the state is steeped in cor­rup­tion as the EPS gov­ern­ment is fight­ing for sur­vival with the once-strong AIADMK split­ting into three or more fac­tions. The op­po­si­tion DMK failed to bring the rick­ety gov­ern­ment down, and it sur­vives on a day to day ba­sis, thanks to its sup­port­ers in New Delhi.

The “usual sus­pect” su­per­star Rajinikanth has been mak­ing more noise than ac­tu­ally tak­ing the plunge. At a (pub­lic) meet­ing with his fans in May, he said that the “sys­tem is rot­ten and needs a re­vamp. Let’s meet when it’s time for the war.” Few weeks ago Gand­hian Peo­ple’s Move­ment leader Thamizharuvi Ma­nian said at a rally in Trichy, which in­cluded “Ra­jini fans”, that the Tamil su­per­star has con­fided in him and that he has de­cided to take plunge in pol­i­tics for a “cor­rup­tion free” Tamil Nadu.

But po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts have said that Rajinikanth is more like a tro­jan horse of the BJP and will not float a new po­lit­i­cal party. They also be­lieve Rajinikanth won’t do any­thing to ham­per his film ca­reer at this cru­cial junc­ture when more than `600 Crores is rid­ing on his two films, 2.O and Kaala. The po­lit­i­cal noises he made has given pub­lic­ity to his films and will en­sure that the 67 year old ac­tor still man­ages to get that all im­por­tant open­ing, at a time when Vi­jay and Ajith are breath­ing down his shoul­der.

Mean­while it is al­most cer­tain that Kamal Haasan will en­ter pol­i­tics. Kamal Haasan was go­ing through a cri­sis in his ca­reer as his films failed re­peat­edly to cre­ate the old magic at the box-of­fice. But the mo­ment he joined Twit­ter and started ex­press­ing his views, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the cor­rup­tion in the state gov­ern­ment, he got no­ticed. Host­ing Bigg Boss Tamil has only made him more pop­u­lar.

With a cryp­tic tweet in Tamil, which looks like a state­ment on his en­try into Tamil Nadu pol­i­tics, he be­came the new mes­siah for a lot of young­sters, as he was not iden­ti­fy­ing with BJP (like Rajinikanth) or state par­ties. The com­ment had re­sulted in the rul­ing party speak­ing against the ac­tor. To this, Kamal Haasan seems to have given a be­fit­ting re­ply with a verse in Tamil.

The power vac­uum in the state has led to the present sit­u­a­tion. All politi­cians put to­gether do not have half the charisma of Jay­alaithaa. And today, all sorts of peo­ple are not only tak­ing ad­van­tage of, but try­ing their best to cap­ture power. Now it all de­pends on how long the present gov­ern­ment will last.

This is merely the in­ter­val; there’s a lot more com­ing our way.

With the be­gin­ning of the fes­tive sea­son, Kamal Haasan flew to Thiru­vanan­tha­pu­ram for “a po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion tour” and had a “Onam” lunch with Ker­ala chief min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan. It is a well-known fact that Kamal’s ide­ol­ogy is closer to CPI (M) than any other party in In­dia. He is a ra­tio­nal­ist and has made vague ref­er­ences to “com­mu­nist ide­ol­ogy” in his films. In Kamal’s Anbe Si­vam (2003), he plays a com­rade and has a take on var­i­ous themes close to his heart – com­mu­nism, athe­ism, and be­ing a good hu­man be­ing.

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