Chennai: The way to the seat of power in Tamil Nadu is through KollywoKamal Haasanod, goes the saying. However, the entry of mega movie stars into the state’s politics in the future may depend on the results scored by Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), is one view. There is also another view that after the entry of southern superstar Rajinikanth, there may not be any continuous flow of mass heroes into Tamil Nadu’s politics as the political dynamics have changed.
“Gone are the days when a movie actor had a distinctive edge over others in the political arena. Today, the electoral content has changed and the actors have to fight along with other politicians for votes,” Jhon Arokiasamy, a political strategist, told IANS. He agreed that actor-politicians have an edge over others in terms of popularity.
“But movie actors are here to stay in politics and will be a force to reckon with. If Kamal Haasan’s MNM secures about a 3-5 per cent vote share in the Lok Sabha elections, then one can safely say that mega heroes continue to have a space in Tamil Nadu’s political world,” Arokiasamy added. According to him, cash for votes has come to stay in Tamil Nadu with ideology and other things taking a back seat.
Five of the state’s former Chief Ministers – C.N. Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR), Janaki Ramachandran and J. Jayalalitha – had their roots in the film industry. While Annadurai and Karunanidhi were involved in writing the story, screenplay and dialogues of movies, it was MGR who became the first actor-turned-Chief Minister.
The state has seen and is seeing several actor-turned-politicians like the late Sivaji Ganesan, T. Rajendar, M. Karthik, Vijayakanth with the DMDK, Sarathkumar with his Samathuva Makkal Katchi and recently Kamal Haasan floating the MNM.
Similarly, Rajinikanth too had announced his political entry and will contest in all the 234 Assembly constituencies. There are several other actors like R. Ramarajan, Vagai Chandrasekhar, Napoleon, Khushboo, C.R. Saraswathi, Anantharaaj, Radha Ravi and others who have joined the AIADMK, the DMK and the Congress. Barring MGR and Jayalalithaa, no other actor has captured power in the state.
In 2005, Vijaykant, 63, an action hero known to perform stunts in movies without a double, floated his DMDK party as an alternative to the two dominant Dravidian parties — the AIADMK and the DMK. When he fought the polls alone without aligning with any party, the DMDK notched up an impressive vote share, better than even the established MDMK and PMK. However, over the years the DMDK’s vote share has come down.
The political landscape in Tamil Nadu changed with the death of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi and both Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth have tried to fill the political vacuum. Mega heroes enter politics at the fag end of their movie career. With the political landscape changing one has to see whether the next set of heroes would take the plunge,” writer and political commentator Maalan Narayanan told IANS.
He said Vijay has punchy dialogues in his movies laced with politics, a movie marketing tactic used by Rajinikanth all these years. Rajinikanth will surely take the state by storm when he takes the final plunge,” political analyst Raveendhran Dhuraiswamy told IANS.
To the question whether the field is conducive for actors like Vijay to enter, Dhuraiswamy said: “The flow of actors into Tamil Nadu politics will continue. Vijay can enter and there may be some moneyed corporates who can underwrite his political expenditure.”
He said that Kamal Haasan after being wishy-washy in his campaign, has for the last three days taken the third alternative stance in a concrete manner. This may fetch him some additional votes,” Dhuraiswamy added. Polls to Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats and the by-elections for 18 Assembly seats, are scheduled for April 18.