Rajinikanth and the political quagmire

KS Badri Narayanan | Updated on January 12, 2021 Published on January 12, 2021


After giving clear hints in early last December of launching a political party, superstar Rajinikanth suddenly changed his tune and withdrew from the political race.

The actor’s sudden announcement came after he was hospitalised on December 25 in Hyderabad due to severe hypertension and exhaustion during Annaatthe movie shooting.

The announcement shocked not only his supporters but also some political pundits who were longing for an alternative to the two Dravadian parties (DMK and AIADMK) that have ruled Tamil Nadu since 1967.

Actor Vijayakanth, too, had raised similar hopes in 2005 when he launched his Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam. He even garnered 10 per cent of the popular vote in the 2006 Assembly elections. But his tie-up with the AIADMK in the 2011 Assembly polls put paid to his chances as an alternative leader.

Chiranjeevi was another mass hero who could not make it big in politics. Though his Praja Rajyam Party won 18 Assembly seats in the 2009 Andhra Pradesh (undivided) elections, he could never shake off allegations that his party was launched at the behest of then Chief Minister YS Rajasekara Reddy to cut into Opposition votes. Chiranjeevi went on to merge his party with the Congress and even became a Union Minister. Now, his brother, Pawan Kalyan, has launched Jana Sena Party.

Flipflops by film heroes has put potential aspirants such as Vijay and Pawan Kalyan on the backfoot. People now will become wary of cinema stars throwing their hats into the political ring.

It is indeed a Herculean task to emulate the success of MG Ramachandran and NT Rama Rao, as their success was built on much hard work and meticulous planning.

Being an action hero may only give an initial advantage. To succeed on the political screen, an action hero needs VISA — vision, instinct, stubbornness and action.

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Published on January 12, 2021
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