Chennai: The latest statement by superstar Rajinikanth about considering plunge into politics has left many discuss whether he, like several other one-time silver screen big names who made it big on the State political scene, will make the final move.
With stalwarts like late Jayalalithaa and ailing Nonagenarian DMK supremo M Karunanidhi out of the scene, Rajinikanth’s fans believe he is the only one who can effectively fill the political vacuum.
Rajinikanth’s latest ambivalent statements on the possibility of his political entry have triggered a buzz in various circles, though this is not for the first time.
Such a hysteria was witnessed even in 1996 when he openly defied Jayalalithaa, asking people not to vote for her.
The then hustings saw ‘Amma’ losing the Assembly elections and the DMK-TMC registering a landslide victory.
Having had his run-ins earlier with the powers that be, the superstar later said “even God can’t save Tamil Nadu” if people voted AIADMK to power again.
He was behind the combine of DMK and Tamil Maanila Congress led by the late G K Moopanar which hoped to get through on the severe anti-incumbency against the AIADMK. But they failed to keep the momentum and AIADMK staged a good comeback in the 1998 Parliament election.
The superstar went into silence though he continued to give hints of his political ambitions through ‘Baba’ in 2002. That was when the PMK, founded by Dr S Ramadoss, was up in arms against him making his smoking scene a big issue.
The film was about the metamorphosis of the carefree atheist to a believer and his brush with a wily politician. It was one where Rajinikanth turned to be a votary for a particular clean politician. But no sooner is he killed than the actor is seen going to the people, signalling that he will lead them.
The movie left Ramadoss red and he accused Rajinikanth of misleading the youth with his unique cigarette flinching style and other gimmicks.
But that could not smoke out the passion of Rajnikanth fans whoe were quite vocal about his political plunge. But the superstar stayed silent or rather kept himself away from such discussions. This was when his supporters and friends in the industry came out twice to float an outfit as part of pressurising him to take the plunge.
His fans as if out of habit come out regularly with posters urging him to ‘lead’ them and ‘save’ the State. They even went to the extent of designing party flags. But unnerved, Rajini maintained silence.
Political parties of all hues, except the AIADMK, have been after him. But Rajini had not only been on good terms with Jayalalithaa in the recent past but also felt he had ‘hurt’ her way back in 1996.
In his latest comments, Rajinikanth had said he had no desire to join politics, but if he did, he would show the door to all “money-minded” people.
He was often dragged into political debates even when he asserted that he was “neither an influential political leader nor a social activist”.
“My name has been dragged into politics for the past two decades. I am pushed to clarify during every election that I’m not affiliated to any political party,” he said early this week.
Incidentally, in his film ‘Muthu’ (1995), he mouthed lyrics in a song saying “why should I launch a party now, (but) only time will tell that.”
Tamil cinema has always had close links with politics with matinee idols like the late MGR, Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi through his scripts, being at the helm of the State.
MGR was one who used his cinema popularity to be a successful springboard for his political future.