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Kamal Haasan looks like a total misfit in Tamil Nadu politics & his party is a non-starter

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Tamil Nadu had a golden opportunity to exit silver screen-based politics, but it seems unlikely with Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth entering the fray. 

When Dadasaheb Phalke introduced cinema to India in 1913, he would have never thought that he would be laying a strong political foundation as well. It is an irony, that the first Indian film was named Raja Harishchandra, who is an epitome of truthfulness, honesty and probity in governance. These are rare qualities in both cinema and politics.

There are very few examples of migration from cinema to politics around the world like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But in Tamil Nadu, it is more or less the rule. After Bhaktavatsalam of the Congress, the silver screen was the entry point to politics for Annadurai, Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalitha. Many party functionaries were also foot workers in the cine field.

After the death of Jayalalitha, a huge question hung over Tamil Nadu. Suddenly the two Dravidian parties were left with no new recruits from the cine field. With the closure of the box office to them, the DMK and the AIADMK are bereft of leadership and staring at a certain defeat in the next elections. To add to their troubles, the warring factions of the AIADMK split more times, and much faster, than amoeba. The political vacuum is so pronounced that every silver screen star dreams of occupying the chief minister’s chair.

Politics in Tamil Nadu is all about empty promises, larger-than-life images, personality cult, money, muscle power and huge fan clubs. So, if Kamalahasan (not Kamal Haasan, please) had not entered politics, it would have been a surprise.

The launch of yet another political outfit has come with great fanfare and hype. His pre-launch meetings with the DMK leadership, Communist Chief Minister of Kerala and evergreen hero Rajinikanth gave him enough publicity. The perfect theatrics of OPS after Sasikala staged a coup in AIADMK, brought him to the forefront of the state’s politics, besides earning him tremendous sympathy.

But his shoddy handling of the situation, back-stabbing by some of his own trusted lieutenants and his assembly arithmetic going wrong, put him in a highly disadvantageous position. With the ascent of EPS, and the two factions coming together, the AIADMK was back to square one. This was the time Kamalahasan must have thought of testing the political waters. At one stage he was willing to join hands with Rajinikanth, but it is likely that the latter gave him the cold shoulder.

Rajinikanth’s entry into politics has a long history. Known for his dithering, the “thalaivar”, as he is called, has all the necessary ingredients to emerge as another MGR, a true grassroots leader, in Tamil politics. But MGR had greater advantages. He was at the peak of his popularity when he quit the DMK over differences with Karunanidhi. It was MGR’s films that built the DMK, brick by brick. Every film of MGR’s (Rikshawkaran, Meenava Nanban, Madurai Veeran, etc) was targeted at a particular vote bank and it hit the target. He quit the DMK, and took with him a big chunk of the party and voter base.

Rajinikanth has neither. He will have to depend on his fan following for legwork. Many of the fan clubs are associated with one of the Dravidian parties. Whether they would be willing to desert their respective parties is difficult to predict. Even parties like the Congress and BJP have found it difficult to translate crowds into voters. (Vajpayee used to lament that those who come to listen to his speech don’t vote for him!)

Rajnikanth needs a strong and experienced core team of party managers to run his party’s day-to-day affairs. As of today, only the DMK, and to some extent the BJP, have a cadre. But the BJP does not have a charismatic leader, and DMK stands terribly discredited. The Congress, which had tall leaders like Kamaraj, is nowhere in the reckoning.

In such circumstances, a confused (“A political party is about an ideology. And I don’t think my goals in politics can match the ideology of any party”) Kamalahasan with Arvind Kejriwal by his side looks a total misfit. The Aam Aadmi Party’s poor show in governance in Delhi is no secret. Besides, with a party symbol smacking of Left-leanings and his avowedly “anti-saffron” statements, the Makkal Neethi Maiyam (MNM) is a non-starter.

Tamil Nadu had a golden opportunity to exit silver screen politics once and for all, especially after the death of Jayalaitha. Such leadership could have been provided only by national parties like the Congress and BJP. However, both parties are in disarray in the economically surging southern state. Like Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tremendous appeal in Tamil Nadu. But the party’s apparatus doesn’t seem to stand up to the occasion.

So, it is a long wait for national parties and people of Tamil Nadu, as another episode of star wars unfolds.

The author is security and strategic affairs commentator and former editor of ‘Organiser’.

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  1. Dr Kaamahassan is a legend in cinema…he is a gd actor, gd kisser etc…but he can kiss his political aspirations goodbye.

  2. This KAMAL HAASAN hater is a complete idiot who hasn’t a clue of what he’s talking about. Maybe another Modi bhakth from the “tremendous appeal” statement but you need to know that your PM is no match to our Kamal Haasan and get your ground work right before you publish such illogical, outrageous or rather hilarious articles. JACK ASS!!

  3. “Modi has tremendous appeal in TN” – RIDICULOUS – this statement clearly shows that the author knows nothing about TN

  4. If Bollywood was in Delhi instead of Mumbai, india could have seen many Bollywood politicians in centre. Film stars has the right to become a politician as every citizen of india.

    Film stars have an advantage and they are using it. Though tamilnadu was ruled by film stars it stands in top 5 developed states of india.

    So why not film stars??? Instead of goonda politicians…

  5. I don’t think this article had anything to have reflected the ground situation in Tamil Nadu! Guess author is Fictional Writer who would echo his own sentiments doesn’t care about what is ground situation!
    Wish The Print does preliminary works before publishing rubbish which neither had any content nor factual!

  6. Kamal has nothing do with aap he is just a guest.I can accept that he has average grass root but by nature he will get their support by his hard work and he has a massive educated youth followers that will change the political system in TN.

  7. Clearly the author has no idea about TN politics. If he thinks that it’s because of no strong leader that BJP has no presence, and that Kamalahasan’s left leaning symbol, and distancing from communalism will lose him votes! He’s playing his cards well, and has struck the right now with the people. Moreover, he thinks that just because the media has portrayed the AAP as being clueless about governance in Delhi, that that must be the truth. Talk to the average Delhi citizen, or go and see the real civic steps taken by them, and you’ll find that they have at least attempted to do much more than any previous Delhi government. That is what irks the big wigs!

  8. The author has no clue of what he’s talking about. I’m not sure he’s in touch with the ground realities of Tamilnadu politics or the sociology of Tamilnadu.
    In any case, I don’t see what is wrong with actors or cinema people entering politics. I think anyone who has the will to contribute to society can do so irrespective of their profession. To say that actors must not enter politics reeks of sectarianism. So who qualifies to enter politics? Can’t an auto driver do it? Or a fisherman, or a farmer?
    To say the least, the two states that have had actors as prominent leaders (Tamilnadu and Andhra) are the most progressive regions of the country in almost all parameters; economy, society, education, healthcare etc. So what exactly is the problem with ‘star wars’?

  9. BJP’s sleeper cells think they knew everything about TN and fail miserably. None of CMs became one just because of cinema. They used cinema as a tool to promote their ideology. Equating DMK to BJP in terms of party structure & cadres is ridiculous. And finally saying Modi has a tremendous appeal in TN is the most funniest thing.

  10. ‘Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tremendous appeal in Tamil Nadu’ clearly author does not know anything about Tamil nadu

  11. Like Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tremendous appeal in Tamil Nadu.
    Well this writer is a paid agent and a dedicated Bhakt. Like the Made In India PNB Scam this write up is Paid Social Media Scam…. nice fiction.

  12. I would not agree when you say only national parties can provide the leadership Tamil nadu requires. National parties have always been known to appease only the cow belt and minorities and they donot keep the interests of region in mind. Look at the classic case of Andhra, where a ruling national party is in alliance with the ruling State government, none of the promises made to Andhra have been fulfilled. Same is the case with many other south states as well. I think it’s time we adopt a more de centralised structure.

  13. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tremendous appeal in Tamil Nadu”. Author doesn’t know what’s the state of mind in Tamil Nadu. PM is cursed left right and centre bcoz of his incapable handling of important government policies and letting off criminals (Nirav, Mallya). He doesn’t walk the talk, his poll promise are damb squib, inflation is at all time high, crude oil prices are low but taxation and looting on petroleum products are high. People in Tamil Nadu are fed up by both state and centre. I believe author is a bhakt.

  14. “Such leadership could have been provided only by national parties like the Congress and BJP.” This is a shallow assumption. It reeks of aversion to state-based political parties as if national parties have a high moral ground. Do these author spurt words without thinking?

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