September 16, 2017
Chennai: Kollywood has the spotlight turned on it again. The Tamil film industry, which gave three Chief Ministers to the state – M Karunanidhi, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa – is on the threshold of revisiting its iconic past.
The today’s vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics, after the demise of Jayalalithaa in 2016 and the ailing Karunanidhi, encourages two leading stars of the Tamil tinsel world – Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth – to dabble in the political power play the state is offering. As in the past with MGR and Sivaji Ganesan choosing opposite ideologies, Kamal and Rajini have decided to chart their own with Vijayakant paling into insignificance.
For Rajini, it is clear. He has been seen and identified with the BJP. He has no qualms to camouflage it. In fact, senior leaders of the BJP including Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to visit him at his house at Poes Garden in Chennai. But Kamal chooses to adopt a more radical stance. He centres his ideology on what he calls ‘Periyarian Marxism,’ which, he feels runs closer to the principles of the Dravidian movement. He flew to Kerala and shared Onam sadaya (lunch) with its Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and had “deep discussions on issues.”
But these two to-be-turned politicians, however, have identical views on one issue – corruption charges the present state government led by Edappadi K Palaniswami is facing. Rajini blamed it on the “system that has failed” at the interactive meeting he had with his fans in Chennai some two months back, which triggered speculations about his entry into politics. It was subtle but far off the target of the issue however.
Political observers feel that the major flaw in Rajini is his Hamletian trait of ‘to be or not to be’ which seems to be undoing his image. “Besides, his stand on the Cauvery issue, his meek compromise to Karnataka when his films were not screened and not in the distant past, an evasive response to Anitha’s suicide, have made the Tamils to suspect his sincerity today,” says a political analyst.
But Kamal is forthright. He took on the present state government by its horns accusing it of massive corruption which has drawn the ire of ministers. He continues his tirade against the state administration in his campaign on Twitter, which logs heavy responses today. He has made it clear that his colour would definitely not be saffron thus indicating his ideological moorings in rationalism with no confusion.
His comment on Anitha’s suicide has brought him closer to the masses now. He tweeted: “The victim does not have to be Akshara or Shruti (his daughters) for me to get angry. Anitha is also a daughter to me.” He did not stop there. When Rajini preferred to sit with the audience, Kamal chose to share the dais with leaders in the DMK’s Murasoli newspaper function. He is individualistic and straight forward. He promises no miracles. “But I promise the start of a change,” he claims and justifies that it is the right time for him to enter politics since everything is going wrong in the state.
Though Kamal says he is willing to work with Rajini if he is ready for a political plunge, the epic battle between the on-screen heroes has just begun off screen in Tamil Nadu.