Kamal Hassan has been recognised universally as an actor par excellence. Notably, unlike Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan never delivered punch dialogues indicating his future in politics through his films. All the more, millions of people have raved about his high calibre acting prowess. But, suddenly the ace actor has been flexing his muscles to jump in to the political sphere
"I want to be the chief minister for the people of Tamil Nadu”, said ace actor Kamal Haasan recently. The brazen statement by the acclaimed actor conveyed his intention to plunge in to politics and has been busy preparing the road map for his political journey.
Tamil Nadu has a long history of patronizing film stars. The obsession with film stars and the kind of hero worship accosted to Tamil stars are phenomenal. In Tamil Nadu politics and cinema are inter-connected. The impact of Tamil cinema on Tamil Nadu politics is very much prevalent. The link is so powerful that the state had seen five Chief Ministers - C N Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, M G Ramachandran, Janaki Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa – emerging from the celluloid world.
Ever since, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) made it big in the politics, every successful and popular major Tamil heroes who had made a name for them in the celluloid world has nourished a desire to occupy the CM chair. The trend has been unparalleled in the country and there are many popular heroes who have ventured in to politics and now indeed bit the dust and faded in to oblivion.
Most of the popular Tamil heroes have nourished political aspirations and always drew a parallel with MGR. In the process, many of them sincerely attempted to toe his line, be it in cinema or in politics. But most of them failed to understand that MGR did not plunge in to the sea of politics suddenly whether during the peak of his film career or at the twilight of it. In fact, he grew in stature both in cinema as well as politics simultaneously. He had the solid backing of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and during those days its founder C N Annadurai made sure that MGR got his dues as the start campaigner of DMK. It is always debatable that whether MGR got his fan base swelling due to DMK’s backing or DMK grew as a powerful party through MGR’s films. Whatever it may be but the fact remains that MGR nurtured politics and reached the people at the grass root level for a couple of decades before breaking away from his friend turned foe Karunannidhi. The huge fan base that helped DMK earlier, switched their loyalty to their evergreen hero. MGR’s onscreen persona was so overwhelming that the warmth and affection shown by the fans when they see him on the screen simply translated in to massive vote bank. MGR’s fans hailed him as a true saviour of the poor. Rest is history. But, unlike MGR for whom his fans readily accepted his political leadership, Jayalalithaa had to cross over many hurdles in her political career and rise through the ranks. Though she had the political tutelage under her mentor MGR, which obviously gave her the required political mileage for her to continue her journey as a politician, after his demise she had to prove her mettle and had to overcome many political adversities with consummate aplomb. Truly she emerged as a powerful leader.
In short, Annadurai got involved in politics from his student days and became a follower of “Periyar” E V Ramasamy the self styled rationalists who founded Dravidar Khazagam (DK), the original atheist movement and later founded DMK. On the other hand, Karunnanidhi, who actually announced his political entry as a teenager way back in the 1950s by participating in the anti-Hindi agitation, never looked back since and today he is regarded as one of the highly acclaimed Tamil leaders across the country. While MGR spent many years for the Dravidian issues and the welfare of the poor before forming the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Jayalalithaa also had learnt political ground realities for years before she turned in to a powerful leader. All the Dravidian leaders – Annadurai, Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalithaa - established their leadership qualities from the grass root level and rose through the ranks to the highest decision making abilities as true leaders. They willingly participated in various activities that provided the impetus to their party and the party workers that not only ensured their political success but also reinstated their leadership. In all they stamped their authority as true leaders.
While the likes of Annadurai, Karunanidhi, MGR and Jayalalithaa proved their mettle, the onscreen charisma alone will not be a shot in the arm for the likes of Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan. The same cannot be said with Kamal Hassan or for that matter even Rajinikanth. Both have no experience in running a political movement. At a time when the state has been witnessing a political vacuum after Jayalalithaa’s death and Karunanidhi being away from active politics due to old age, many consider Kamal Hassan’s his political aspirations as a mere opportunistic attempt. Moreover, with age catching up and being at the twilight of his illustrious film career, Kamal Hassan is now lobbying with politics. Many people argue that in a democracy the doors are always open and whoever wishes can enter politics. Yes. So, the doors are open for Kamal Hasssan too. But, without any clear ideology and political experience, just banking on his megastar image is crude of him to jump all of a sudden in to the sea of politics.
Kamal Hassan has been recognised universally as an actor par excellence. Notably, unlike Rajinikanth, Kamal Hassan never delivered punch dialogues indicating his future in politics through his films. All the more millions of people not only from Tamil Nadu but across the country as well, raved about his high calibre acting prowess. But, suddenly the ace actor has been flexing his muscles to jump in to the political sphere.
The ace actor is openly biased. While he has been highly critical of the ruling AIADMK and its leaders, he has been silent on DMK and even shares the dais with MK Stalin. While sharing his views on the functioning of the government and criticising various issues as well is OK, but remaining mute on the others is something that will work against him. When many people felt that considering his atheist ideology, he will lean towards DMK. But he declared that no existent political party can provide him with a platform or an ideology that will match his reformatory goals in politics. His decision to float his own party has surprised many.
Though he is born Brahmin, he takes pride in claiming to be an atheist and rationalist on the lines of EV Ramasamy. He is a champion of DK. He not only vehemently opposes anything Brahmin, but also often criticise most of the Hindu customs and practices. In fact DMK branched out of DK. Today, DK has by and large its power and it no more the threatening force that can alter the political equations in Tamil Nadu. In fact the DK and other anti-god fringe elements have lost their pulse and they just manage to survive well past its expiry date. The fact remains that today the faith on GOD and the religious sentiments have increased several folds.
At a time when DMK has realised that its anti-Hindu and anti- God tactics will not work anymore and mended their ways by cleaning temple tanks and approach even Brahmins for votes, Kamal Hassan’s continued rhetoric on Hindu sentiments will not stand him in good stead. Though he is entitled to his opinion which is perfectly OK, that too in a democratic country, what he resists the most will work the more in his political career to his disadvantage and he will lose his own identity.
As long as Jayalalithaa was alive, Kamal Hassan absolutely kept quiet and never spoke about AIADMK. But, strangely after Jayalalithaa’s death, he has been whining about his issues with Jayalalithaa which is a reflection of his opportunistic attitude that got exposed and many does not consider him as a sure-shot reforming politician.
Moreover, Kamal Hassan lacks the conviction required for an astute politician and leader. Kamal Haasan said that his entering politics is “not out of choice but compulsion". At the same time he also said, “I want to be the Chief Minister for people of Tamil Nadu”. While the first statement gives an impression of his inclination to do something good for the people of Tamil Nadu, the second clearly affirms his superiority complex.
While he has been continuously accusing the AIADMK government of not focusing on the development of the state, he too is not talking about any clear development plan for the state. He has not spoken about how he will add value administering the state of Tamil Nadu and other the problems the people of Tamil Nadu are facing. Instead he seems to be more interested in the trivial matters such as priest selection committee for the temples and will be more satisfied if a dalit is made as a priest in Tamil Nadu.
As a person Kamal Hassan lacks the clarity on many issues but always prefer to dominate. Recently, the actor apologised to the people for supporting the Centre's demonetisation policy saying that he supported the plan in a hurry. Earlier, the same Kamala Hassan tweeted to say, "Salute Modi. This move has to be celebrated across political party lines. Most importantly, by the earnest taxpayers."
The actor has been packing a lot of chutzpah while taking on the government stating that there is corruption in all the departments in Tamil Nadu and urged the public to report the corruption online after the Tamil Nadu government dared the actor to provide proof of the instances of graft within its departments. The actor had requested his fans to explain the travails faced by them due to corruption in a digital format, noting that complaints on paper would be torn and thrown away.
When Tamil Nadu's Health department, and Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, have recommended the consumption of Nilavembu Kudineer, the herbal concoction made from papaya leaves and is credited with increasing the resistance power and help avert dengue, Kamal Hassan questioned its effectiveness and advised his fans not to distribute the drink until it is proven.
In the recent controversy over Vijay starrer “Mersal”, Kamal Hassan threw his weight behind the actor asking him not to bow down to BJP’s demand and re-censor it.
“NO” to Film Stars
Besides, may be for the first time, there are voices emerging against the cinema-politics nexus in Tamil Nadu politics and even some political parties have started openly condemning film stars from entering politics. Expert’s points out that today with a sizable population of educated youths, film glamour and charisma alone cannot be the recipe for success in politics.
Kamal Hassan has been banking on his fan base which is limited on scale when compared to Rajinikanth’s fan base. It is acknowledged that minus either of the two popular Dravidian majors, no party or leader has ever crossed the 10 percent vote-share mark convincingly in Tamil Nadu, to be able to come to power at the first attempt itself.
Moreover, with age catching up and being at the twilight of his illustrious film career, Kamal Hassan is now lobbying with politics. Without any clear ideology and political experience, just banking on his megastar image, it is crude of him to jump all of a sudden in to the sea of politics.
The amazing actor has truly entertained the people time and again with his masterly performances on the screen. But, in politics with fierce competition from all directions coupled with lack of strong conviction and ideology would end up Kamal Hassan becoming an entertainer in politics on par his celluloid performances.
Though Kamal Hassan’s statements and few interviews have created considerable ripples on social media and attracted many followers, but within political circles not many consider him as a real threat as is not being considered as a serious contender capable of altering the political scenario in Tamil Nadu in the near future.