Tamil Nadu

EPS predicts a Rajini-Kamal flop show

Edappadi Palaniswami has turned an astrologer. The Tamil Nadu chief minister has predicted that Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth would meet the same fate as Sivaji Ganesan. No, he was not referring to the acting prowess that is common to the three but their foray into politics. 

“We all know how popular Sivaji Ganesan was as an actor. He was considered on par with MGR. But when he started a political party, we saw what was its fate and how he was defeated in elections. Actors who turn politicians would meet a similar fate,” said Palaniswami.

Pretty rich, coming from the leader of a party whose launching pad was celluloid popularity and retained its umbilical chord with Kodambakkam with the towering presence the late Jayalalithaa. 

EPS is clearly irked with the fact that Kamal and Rajinikanth are given media attention disproportionate to their political strength in Tamil Nadu. So he decided to get personal.

“Kamal Haasan is 66 years old and doesn’t get the right opportunities in the film industry anymore. Hence, he started a party,” said EPS taunting the actor’s party about its performance in the Lok Sabha elections. About Rajini who spoke about a “leadership vacuum” in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK joint coordinator dismissed the Superstar’s statement as “trivial”.

“Is Rajini a political leader? He is only an actor. Did any political leader say there is leadership vacuum. How can one conclude on the remarks of a person who is unrelated to politics?” asked EPS.

What Palaniswami-speak shows is that the prospect of the tallest stars rising in politics bothers professional politicians like him. Even though on paper, there is no vacuum since the DMK and the AIADMK are formidable parties that lead their respective coalitions, a sense of disenchantment with the kind of politics both practise can lead to the two stars exploiting their charisma to find footboard space in Tamil Nadu politics. Kamal’s MNM showed it can hurt the two Dravidian parties in urban centres and Rajini’s appeal cuts across rural and urban Tamil Nadu. If backed by the right political apparatus, both can prove to be a gamechanger provided they don’t treat politics like a call sheet.

And even though EPS may deride the two actors, the fact remains that it was his one-take act of falling at VK Sasikala’s feet during the tumultuous period after Jayalalithaa’s demise and O Panneerselvam’s revolt that enabled him to occupy the CM’s chair in Tamil Nadu.

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