After much anticipation, Superstar Rajinikanth's latest movie 'Kaala' is out in the theatres. But his latest film is a little different for Rajinikanth, as he's now not only a well-known cine star, but also a celebrated figure whose entry into politics has not been a smooth sail, especially after his recent comment on Sterlite protest which drew flak from people across Tamil Nadu.
While Rajinikanth is trying to balance his professions, his contemporary, Kamal Haasan, who recently launched his political party, Makkal Needhi Maiam, has also ventured into television as a host of popular TV show 'Big Boss' in Tamil. Although both the superstars are one of a kind in their when it comes to their acting careers, their political plunge has been quite different from their seniors in Tamil Nadu's political history.
M G Ramachandran
Although people may think that M G Ramachandran, the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, was an actor-turned-politician, but he was first a politician, and then an actor. Before entering into movies, he was associated with the Congress party. He used to act in the films but used to play blink-and-miss characters in his early years. His association with the Congress party broke when CN Annadurai started the anti-Hindi agitation, followed by which, he joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). As his films rocked the box office one after the other, his popularity grew only stronger. After he was ousted from the DMK, he went on to form his own party - Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK). He continued with films until he became the Chief Minister in 1977. His last released film was Madhuraiyai Meetta Sundharapandiyan in 1978.
Tamil Nadu's 'Amma' and former Tamil acting diva, J Jayalalitha, left the film career in 1977 with her last movie ‘Unnai Suttrum Ulagam’. She then joined AIADMK in 1982 and started her political career with MGR. Her active participation in politics and captivating speeches were well received and appreciated by the public. But prior to stepping into the muddy waters, Jayalalitha had a celebrated film career spanning over 30 years and 120 films, where several of them bagged National Awards. Just after few years of leaving the film fraternity and entry into politics, she went on to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Before her demise in 2016, she held the CM office six times.
Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth
Both the superstars, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, were still pursuing their acting professions when they took their first steps into politics. Days after his meeting with Aam Admi Party Chief Arvind Kejriwal in September last year, Haasan launched his party in February 2018. His entry into politics comes only after the 2017 Jallikattu protest. After being extremely vocal about his pro-Jallikattu views, he thereafter continued to express his opinion on issues like Nilavembu and communalism. On the other hand, Rajinikanth started expressing his opinion almost at the same time. There have been speculations that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 visit to Rajinikanth, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been trying to woo him for the party's ticket to South. But later he went on record denying the allegations of a possible alliance with BJP.
However, politics is not something new for the 'Thalaivar'. In 1996, Rajinikanth had asked the people of Tamil Nadu to extend their support the DMK government, famously declaring, "Even God can't save Tamil Nadu if Jayalalithaa comes back to power again". True to his words, that year the DMK and its alliance swept the Assembly polls. A few years later, however, Rajini described his statement as "a mistake and an accident".
While Kamal Haasan has two films under his belt this year, Rajinikanth's '2.0' is likely to hit screens. MGR was an established politician when he became a superstar and Jayalalitha had seven years of political struggle before becoming the CM.
With all eyes on 2021 State Assembly elections, it will be interesting to see how the nouveau actor-politicians manage to sail on both ships and if they succeed, it will open a new door for the aspiring politicians to try their hands on both the professions.