Film Stars Dominate Politics in Tamilnadu
The state of Tamilnadu was carved out of the erstwhile Madras, Hyderabad State. This was done as per the recommendations of the states reorganization commission set up by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Tamil Nadu thus became a distinct part of the Indian Union, where the majority of the population spoke the Tamil language.
The state of Madras also had a thriving film Industry which almost rivaled Bollywood. The Tamil film industry had it all, stars and superstars who were immensely popular among the people of the state.However, unlike other states the psyche of the Tamilians is to associate more with the film stars and the films. One reason could be that the stars give an escape route to the common man to live a fantasy and have a dream world and have a dream world away from the harsh reality of life.
The result of this was that film stars became the dominant face of everyday life. It was thus not unreasonable for them to venture into the world of politics. The Tamil masses accepted the film stars as political leaders for the last 6 decades out of the 7 decades of Indian independence, film stars have ruled the roost in Tamilnadu and they are the dominant political force
The first star who made a big splash on the political arena was MG Ramachandran. He was a superstar in his own right and extremely popular. MGR, as he was popularly called, was a wonderful man and he has the distinction having any number of women consorts, one of these consorts was Jayalalitha, who later took over the leadership after his death. MGR came into the limelight when he broke away from the DMK chief Karunanidhi and formed his own party the All India Anna DMK. Both parties paid allegiance or maybe lip service to the founder of the Dravidian movement Annudarai.
MGR upset the apple cart of Karunanidhi and defeated him in the elections. He followed up by becoming the chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu. MGR was a great leader but he was getting on in years and though he had a kidney transplant he left for his heavenly abode after few years.
His consort was Jayalalitha, who was 30 years his junior and had been along with him as his intimate companion. She was also a film star having acted opposite him in a number of films. Just for the record she also starred with the Indian Superstar from Bollywood Dharmendra in the Hindi film "Izzat". She donned the mantle of the leader of the AIDMK and made a place for herself on her own in the hearts of the Tamil people.There have been there having been many allegations of corruption against her but this did not stop the Tamil people from almost worshipping her like a goddess
Earlier MGR was opposed by another superstar name Sivaji Ganesan. He was a formidable star and was often referred as the Dilip Kumar of the Tamul film world. He was a supporter of the Congress Party but compared to MGR who talked of Tamil Pride Sivaji Ganesan by virtue of being a supporter of the Congress Party failed to gel with the people of Tamilnadu or to cut much ice with them and in the ultimate analysis lost out to MGR
Jayalalitha had a good career as a chief minister of Tamilnadu.Though she did lose the election to the DMK and Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister, her hold on the populace was complete and when she died many Tamil persons immolated themselves. Such was the emotional attachment to Jayalalitha.
Death of Jayalalitha
The death of Jayalalitha has opened the Pandora's box for new film stars to appear on the scene. As it stands Karunanidhi is now too old and confined to the wheelchair. His son Stalin does not have his Charisma and as such is unable to enthuse the masses. The All India Anna DMK which was a one-man show of Jayalalitha and after her death is now almost at headless. Her close companion Sasikala tried to take over the leadership of the party but she was convicted in a corruption scandal and has been sentenced to jail for 5 years. There is a possibility that in case Jayalalitha had not expired she would also have been convicted by the Supreme Court and that would have barred her from contesting elections in the future.
The field for the leadership of the All India DMK is open Jayalalitha's nephew has claimed the leadership but there are two new entrants in the field for the leadership of the Tamil people. They are the superstar Rajinikanth and another important star Kamal Hassan. Both claim to be good friends in real life but are politically miles apart. Kamal Hassan claims to be more secular and has mouthed some statements against Hinduism and Hindus. What his game is and why he mouthed such statements is not clear, because Kamal Hassan is a Hindu
Rajinikanth is playing a shrewd game. He has met Prime Minister Modi and generally is considered closer to the BJP. That is the reason that on a recent visit to Harvard, Kamal Hassan in a statement to the press said that there was very little likelihood of he and Rajinikanth joining together and he also hoped it that Rajnikant would get away from the saffron flag. Saffron, as you all know, is the color associated with Hinduism and the BJP.
The stage is set for a battle between these two superstars. Cho Ramaswamy the popular columnist and political Guru have brought out that a similar fight was between Sivaji Ganesan and MGR. He feels that just like Shivaji Ganeshan lost, so also Kamal Hassan will lose. He has also said that India can only progress forward once Rajnikant is the Prime Minister of India and that I think is the ambition of Rajinikanth. He is a great person, a philanthropist and a man with a golden heart. It is not inconceivable that with the permutations combinations going around in the political scenario in India that Rajnikant could be catapulted to the topmost post of political power.That is however a long way off and first, we will have to wait and see what happens in the coming general elections to the state assembly
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