Is Rajinikanth's Aura on a Decline?

Is Rajinikanth's Aura on a Decline?

Why it may not be alright for Rajinkanth and Kamal Haasan to plunge into politics while retaining their active Tollywood careers
Is Rajinikanth's Aura on a Decline?

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The  fan clubs are  going into hysterical cartwheels  over  their demi-god’s  new release. But do you  know  anyone who has really liked  the garbled politics  of  Rajinikanth in his latest  film Kaala?  Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, the two pillars  of  the Tamil film industry, so to speak, are at  the crossroads. Should they be dabbling  in politics rather than submerging in the  process  of  making movies?

Fans and even colleagues seem to think otherwise. Many of  the actors Rajni  and Kamal have worked with  feel  they are making a mistake  by  going into politics. A leading actress who  has worked with both the stalwarts feels it is a mistake for them to  cross over., “You can’t be an  abhineta and a  neta at  the same time. There  is bound  to be  a clash of interest. Rajini’s Kaala looks like  a propaganda  piece rather than full-on masala  product. You can’t mix the sheer  pleasure  of the movie experience  with the  business of politics. Mr Bachchan tried. He entered  politics and  made  political films like Inquilaab and Main Azaad Hoon, and  failed.”
The  problem  with Kaala, and I am sure the same will happen when Kamal’s Vishwaroopam 2 releases in August,  is  that the film is a thinly veiled attempt to  pitch  the iconic  star as a political entity. Rajini  plays a slum-god, a messiah of the masses fighting relentlessly for  the  land and property  of the  poor.

It is the image that he sees himself projecting in real life. Whether  this image gets mass acceptance or not  is a moot  point. With  Kamal Haasan it will be even trickier to project his political ideology  into cinema.  He doesn’t have  the  broad  fan-base of Rajini. To get audiences  to  subscribe to his politics in cinema would be tough. In any case why are  Rajini and  Kamal shifting into an arena that is not their domain? Can  an actor  be  a committed politician? It’s like  expecting a chef to  moonlight as an astronaut. Vishal Krishna who is vocal on many political  issues in Tamil Nadu  plays the double role of  actor-politician  very successfully. Says Vishal, “I think it is  highly imperative that  actors with a fan base use that base  to make  a difference  in  politics. As far as Kamal Sir and Rajini Sir are concerned I am waiting like  all the others  to understand their  political plans. The sooner they come out with it  the better."

Shatrughan Sinha who  is a close friend of Rajinikanth and  is an active  politician –actor  himself has serious misgivings  about Rajini and Kamal’s political plans. “I hope they have worked out their political screenplays in some detail before taking the plunge. Mujhe aisa lagta toh nahin hai.I hope I am wrong. Because  politics  is no bed of roses. Actors  come from a  world of glamour. They are addicted to glamour. In politics  there  is a lot of power. And  power is extremely glamorous. Actors come  to politics in the hope of building on their  glamour and fame.” But the truth, says Shatruji, is somewhat removed from expectations. “Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan should be very clear on why they came  want to come into politics. Why just Rajinikanth ? Even Kamal Haasan is  a very good friend  of mine. They  never sought my advice before plunging into politics. If they had, I’d have  warned them  about the pitfalls of politics. Look at the way I’ve been treated  by my parent party. I was  given to understand that I’d  be given  cabinet rank. Instead a television actress was given cabinet  position. I was only subjected to humiliation and indifference. We actors are  brought into political parties to draw in  the crowds. But when we do draw in the crowds the party gets insecure about our popularity. It’s really a  very tricky situation.”

In the absence of  a cogent clearly-elucidated political  ideology Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth will lean   more and more on their cinema to  project their political  views. But I am afraid that  won’t work. Audiences know the lines in a film are pre-written for  the actors.  They want to see these superstars mouth what comes naturally spontaneously  from their hearts.

Are the two Tamil titans prepared  for  some serious frankspeech?

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