Chennai : In a State like Tamil Nadu where politicians and film stars appropriate titles dime a dozen — ranging from ‘Revolutionary Leader’ to ‘People’s Leader’ or ‘Superstar’ to ‘Universal Hero’ — it is rare that someone is dragged to court over a title.
But an ex-serviceman has been so offended over DMDK leader and actor Vijayakant appropriating the title ‘Captain’, which is a Military rank, that he has got the Madras High Court to issue a direction to the police to examine if a FIR could be registered against the politician.
Vijayakant, who is currently being wooed by major political parties, including the BJP, Congress and the DMK, for an electoral pack for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, is popularly called ‘Captain’ by his supporters, both in politics and film industry.
In his initial years as an actor, he was given the title ‘Puratchi Kalaignar’ (Revolutionary Artiste) for playing the angry young man role too often. However, in the early 1990s when forest brigand Veerappan had a free run, the actor starred in a film titled ‘Captain Prabakaran’, in which he captures an elusive sandalwood smuggler. From then on the title ‘Captain’ stuck to him.
Also, he was heading the South Indian Film Artistes’ Association for nearly a decade and he was considered to be the ‘Captain’ of the film industry for steering it through difficult times. When he entered politics, he retained the ‘filmi’ title.
However, an ex-serviceman Dhandapani contended that by using the title ‘Captain’, Vijayakant was actually insulting the Indian Army and prayed the court to direct the police to register an FIR against the actor.
Justice C T Selvam, who heard the petition, has now directed the police to examine if a prima facie case has been made out against the actor-politician for using the said title and if, yes, register an FIR against him.
Interestingly, during the 2011 Assembly elections, the actor’s bitter screen world rival Vadivel, a popular comedian, had lampooned him for using the ‘Captain’ title.
Vadivel, who was campaigning for the DMK at the behest of the then powerful party regional satrap M K Alagiri, wanted to know whether Vijayakant was the ‘Captain’ of a ship? He also pulled punches at him saying “Only Dhoni was the real captain as he had won a World Cup after 23 years.”
It is another matter that Vijayakant won the elections in the company of the AIADMK then and Vadivel faded into oblivion after Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister. Can Vijayakant be the real ‘Captain’ this time?