This has been the big question that is being widely discussed and debated not just in the media but also amongst the public. In the last one week, Kamal Haasan has made numerous statements against the current AIADMK government and earned the wrath of its ministers. Meanwhile, AIADMK’s O Panneerselvam and M K Stalin of the DMK, have openly supported Kamal.

As for Finance Minister D Jayakumar’s dare to Kamal to join politics, the star’s fans are keen he take up the challenge. Superstar Rajinikanth has also made references to joining politics but has yet to make an open statement on when and if he will. Given this scenario, will the two top stars of Tamil cinema decide to take the political plunge?

At the outset, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are two distinct personalities who differ from each other in numerous ways. Kamal is spontaneous, outspoken and bold when it comes to making statements on issues (political or otherwise), while Rajinikanth only makes a diplomatic statement when absolutely under pressure to. Kamal leads an open life and is used to dealing with controversies throughout his life. However, Rajinikanth is reclusive, wants to stay out of controversies and hardly speaks to the press. Given this scenario, what is the perception that people have on the ground?

Agrees journalist, Karthik Subramanian about the Superstar, “Despite being the biggest star in Tamil cinema for past few decades Rajinikanth has never been seen as an organiser. He has been mostly reticent, almost a behind-the-scenes player and his own repeated assertions over the years that he is not interested in politics makes his recent attempts at expressing political interest very weak. I think people are looking more for outspoken leaders with good organisation skills and Rajinikanth, despite being a popular personality, does not fit the bill.”

In contrast, Kamal Haasan is definitely seen as standing with the people of the state where serious issues are concerned. Even in the latest issue involving corruption, he urged the people of the state to write to their respective MLAs highlighting cases of corruption.

Explains Bharath Kumar journalist, “Kamal Haasan is an intellectual, has a lot of insight and always stands by what he says. He never changes his stance. In 1996, Rajinikanth stated that if people voted for Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu, they were doomed. But the same Superstar praised her to the skies at an event in 2004. Credibility is important and I think Rajinikanth lost his credibility then.”

But there are many who feel that actors should stay out of politics as it’s a very different ballgame.

Kamal Haasan should be an outspoken commentator rather than a participant they add. Karthik Subramanian says, “Here we have many people challenging him to get into electoral politics but it is a gross misunderstanding that only those who are in electoral politics must comment on political issues. We need outspoken artists, industry leaders and generally people on all walks of life. To put it simply, we need people who reflect popular opinion and influence the elected leaders to act in public interest. At this point, Kamal fits that bill. To expect him to join or lead a party is unwarranted.”

Right now, there is a lot of anger within the public in Tamil Nadu regarding the mystery around Amma’s death, the perceived non-functioning of the state government, the water crisis, the drought and other issues. If these two stars do enter the political arena, votes will be split and it’ll cause a significant dent in the already embattled AIADMK. And it might give a further fillip to the DMK.

While Bharath Kumar says personally he’d vote for Kamal Haasan and Karthik Subramanian feels neither would make a good political leader, the current mood in the state of Tamil Nadu is set for anyone to take the political plunge.

First Published | 24 July 2017 2:01 PM
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