Dravidian politics and the world of cinema and culture are inseparable it appears. This has been the case since 1925, when the first seeds of Dravidian politics in the state were sown by the revolutionary thinker Periyar EV Ramaswamy. Periyar’s legacy was taken forward by CN Annadurai, the writer who popularised the ideology through his plays and movies.
And then, the world of movies has already given five chief ministers to the state.
CN Annadurai or Anna, the most popular chief minister of the state, was an ideologue and script writer of the movie “Parasakthi”( 1952) which was a big hit and propagated Dravidian ideology among the people of Tamil Nadu. His legacy was taken forward by M. Karunanidhi, script writer and lyricist, who became one of the most popular chief ministers of the state as also the supreme commander of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(DMK).
M.G. Ramachandran, the superstar of the Tamil movie world, was catapulted to the higher echelons of politics by none other than C.N. Annadurai who could gauge the popularity of MGR (As he is popularly known) and that it would be of use to the DMK. Annadurai initiated a reluctant Ramachandran into the world of politics.
MGR and Karunanidhi were close friends and after the latter became Chief minister, MGR felt that he was sidelined, leading to the mega star walking out of the DMK and floating his own outfit, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam(AIADMK).
Tamil politics revolved around these two until the death of MGR. His close associate J Jayalalithaa, who was then general secretary of AIADMK, was kicked out of the funeral procession of the veteran actor. MGR’s wife Janaki Ramachandran, another movie star, briefly became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalithaa, MGR’s heroine in several movies and one of the top Tamil actors, won the next assembly elections and got control of the AIADMK to became chief minister, the fifth CM from the tinsel world to get the coveted post.
Even today, the story is no different as Udayanidhi Stalin, MK Stalin’s son and M Karunanidhi’s grandson, is a movie actor in his own right and a general secretary of the DMK.
Popular star-turned-politician Kamal Haasan with his Makkal Needhi Maiam(MNM) party has entered into a political alliance with another actor turned politician , R Sarath Kumar. Kumar, the actor, director, script writer and his party, the All India Samthuva Makkal Katchi have aligned with Haasan and his MNM.
Vijayakanth, another super star of Tamil movie industry has floated his Desiya Murpokku Munnetra Kazhagam(DMMK) and was the main opposition in 2011, winning 29 seats in alliance with AIADMK. The DMDK has now walked out of the AIADMK-BJP alliance and is scouting for partners and allies.
The super mega star of the South Indian movie world, Rajinikanth, was expected to float his own political party, but following the Covid pandemic, dropped the idea. The BJP was expecting to piggy ride on Rajini’s popularity but the star backed out.
Haasan had made several trips to meet Rajinikanth to garner his support which would be a major boost to his political fortunes.
Clearly, Tamil politics will never be short of star power.