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Clash of the Film Stars in Tamilnadu Politics

Updated on February 12, 2018

The Beginning

Tamil Nadu is home to the Tamil speaking population. The state was carved out of the erstwhile state of Madras and Hyderabad as per the State Reorganisation Commission. This was a follow up of Pandit Nehru's decision to redraw the map of India on linguistic lines. Needless to say that this decision laid the seeds of fissiparous tendencies.

However, the state which was formed as a cohesive Tamil speaking state was able to let the Tamil psyche prosper. The Tamil people are an emotional lot and have a fascination with film stars. This is natural because Tamil Nadu has a thriving film industry which rival's Bollywood. In the present time, the Tamil actor Rajnikanth is the highest paid movie star in the Indian Film Industry.

For the Tamil people, Reel life is real life. Maybe it's an outlet to a dream world, where they can forget their day to day worry. This is the reason that Tamil film stars have dominated politics in Tamil Nadu and film stars have been Chief Ministers for decades.

MGR vs Shivaji Ganesan

The founder of the Dravidian movement was Annudarai. He formed the DMK the (Dravida Munnetra kazakham). He was the first leader who broke the back of the ruling Congress Party and became the chief minister of Tamilnadu but he died soon after the formation of the state.

His successor was M Karunanidhi but he had an opponent in the shape of the film star M G Ramachandran. MGR, as he was popularly called, was a popular actor and he broke from Karunanidhi and formed is own party the ADMK. He professed loyalty to Annudarai and won the election. He became Chief Minister and Karunanidhi was sidelined. This was in the early seventies and the start of the love affair in politics of the Tamil people and film stars.

MGR had an opponent he was Sivaji Ganesan, who was a top actor in his own right. Many considered him to be the Dilip Kumar of Tamil cinema. Dilip Kumar as we know is the doyen of Bollywood, who ruled the silver screen for nearly four decades. Shivaji was close to the Congress Party and that perhaps was his undoing as the Congress is not popular in Tamilnadu and with MGR projecting aTamil identity Sivaji Ganesan had to take a back seat.

Jaylalitha as an actress
Jaylalitha as an actress
MGR and Jaya
MGR and Jaya

Rise of Jayalalitha

The vacuum created by the death of MGR was filled by his companion and lover Ms. J Jayalalitha. She was almost 30 years younger than MGR but was a film star in her own right. She had starred in many films with MGR and the two were a romantic couple on screen and off screen. She also acted in a Bollywood film with the actor Dharmendra titled " Izzat".

MGR put a stop to her acting in Hindi films and Jayalaitha concentrated on acting only with MGR. Jayalalitha captured the hearts of the Tamil people. Though there were allegations of corruption against her yet the emotional bond she had with the Tamil people was tremendous. It was so deep that when she died of a prolonged illness many Tamil men committed suicide by burning.

Jayalalitha was convicted of corruption and awarded 5 years in prison but before the sentence could be affected she passed away. Her successor was her close friend Mrs. Shashikala but she could not consolidate her position, as she was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Presently she is in the jail at Bangalore

The death of Jayalalitha has created another vacuum and there is nobody to fill it. Sensing an opportunity 2 film stars namely Kamal Hassan and Rajnikant have thrown their hats into the ring. The stage is now set for a clash between Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. It would, however, be remembered that Rajnikant is the superstar, who is also the highest paid actor in Indian cinema and Kamal Hassan will have a tough time matching him

Rare photo of MGR and Shivaji together
Rare photo of MGR and Shivaji together

Now it could be Rajnikanth vs Kamal Hassan

Cho Ramaswami the veteran columnist and commentator have likened the fight between these two stars as similar to the Shivaji Ganesan MGR clash. He is of the opinion that Kamal Hassan will lose.

There is a distinct possibility of this happening as Rajnikanth is closer to the BJP, though he might strike out on his own.Kamal Hassan has mouthed some anti-Hindu statements and they will not go down well with the electorate. The bigger problem is that Rajnikanth has a bigger screen presence and there is a chance that Rajniknatha may be the next CM of Tamil Nadu. The other two parties in the fray, the DMK, and the AIDMK look to be losers as they have no charismatic film star in their ranks. In Tamil politics where film stars rule the political scenario the chance that these two parties will be able to challenge Rajnikanth are minimal. The stage is set for a repeat performance of the MGR- Shivaji clash and we all know who the winner will be.

Cho has gone on to add that the destiny of India will not be complete till Rajnikantha is the Prime Minister of India. We can keep our fingers crossed till then.


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