Tuesday, July 23, 2024

With Vijay’s imminent political entry, a look back at TN politics and movie industry

 With Tamil Nadu abuzz with speculation about the imminent entry of superstar Vijay into the political arena of the state, it was clear that politics in the state have always been closely related to its film industry.

MG Ramachandran or MGR has been one of the biggest icons of the Tamil film industry with back to back hits and had a godly image on the screen. It was the shrewd scriptwriter of the Tamil film industry, M. Karunanidhi who had referred MGR to the stalwart of Dravidian politics, CN Annadurai.

There was no looking back for MGR and he was a major moving force in the DMK. Later he fell out with his political mentor, M. Karunanidhi and floated his own political outfit, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ( AIADMK) and became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu trouncing the DMK in the 1977 elections. He steered the AIADMK to victory in the 1980 and 1984 assembly polls also and continued to be the chief minister till his death in 1987. MGR was the first movie star to become the CM of a state in India.

M. Karunanidhi, the DMK leader, was one of the major scriptwriters of Tamil filmdom and was the chief minister of the state for five terms — between 1969-71, 1971-76, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and 2011-16.

Jayalalithaa was a popular heroine of the Tamil movie industry and was a major pair with MGR on screen. Judging her popularity, MGR brought her into the AIADMK and she later became the leader of the party after the demise of MGR. She became the chief minister in 1995 for the first time and held that office for six terms till she passed away on December 5, 2016.

The big vacuum created by the deaths of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi is aiming to be filled by Vijay, given his popularity among youngsters as well as the support base of his fans club, Thalapathi Vijay Makkal Iyyakam (TVMI).

Even though the people of Tamil Nadu accepted stars like MGR and Jayalalithaa and a scriptwriter like Karunanidhi to lead them, it was not so rosy for actors turned politicians like the late Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan, Vijayakanth, Sharath Kumar and Seeman.

While Kamal Haasan, Vijayakanth and Seeman are active with Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), and Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) respectively, they have not been able to make a major mark in Tamil politics.

With the Tamil film industry’s top star, Rajinikanth backing out from politics after almost announcing his entry, the way is clear for Vijay for a grandiose entry into Tamil politics. It is certain that Vijay will get a rousing reception from the people of Tamil Nadu in the first election he faces, but it has to be seen whether he will be consistent enough in the murky world of politics which is not entirely what is depicted in the movies.

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