Why Rajinikanth would be sceptical about entering politics
Come election time, every candidate clutches to every straw that can get him a vote. Little surprise that Gangai Amaran ensured his closeness to Rajinikanth was for all to see when the two met at the Superstar’s Poes Garden residence on Tuesday. Music composer Gangai Amaran is the brother of legendary composer Ilayaraja and is the BJP candidate from RK Nagar constituency, which will see a byelection on 12 April.
Even though the narrative around the bypoll revolves around which of the two factions of the AIADMK will gain the upper hand, the BJP is using the election to test waters. After the demise of Jayalalithaa in December last year and the subsequent rift in the AIADMK, the BJP believes there is an opening that has been created. The problem however, is that the BJP neither has the cadre base nor the leader with a pan-Tamil Nadu appeal to exploit an opportunity.
Which is why this photograph is important. Even though Rajinikanth is extremely reluctant to succumb to the incessant wooing by the BJP to join it, the party believes the actor can be its trumpcard if he comes around well in time before 2019. For the moment, the embrace is Gangai Amaran and the BJP’s way of trying to convey that even though Rajinikanth is not part of the BJP, he is clear about his preference.
The BJP also feels that the Uttar Pradesh win has created an impression that there is a Narendra Modi vote to be tapped into in every state, city and even constituency. And in a metro like Chennai, if Modi is used as a magnet to attract votes of the youth, it could help make a foray into Tamil Nadu politics. But the jury is out on whether the UP template of `sabka saath, sabka vikas’ and projecting Modi as Mr Development will translate into a winning slogan in Chennai.
RK Nagar has a limited agenda – to decide the winner of AIADMK vs AIADMK. Neither the BJP nor the DMK-Congress are therefore part of this equation. DMK’s best bet is that the traditional AIADMK vote may split between the two factions, with some bit going to a Deepa, Jayalalithaa’s niece and could help DMK in the bargain.
Rajinikanth has good reasons to harbour a million doubts about stepping into the political arena. He hails from Karnataka and he, more than anyone else, is aware of the pressure that is mounted on him everytime there is a dispute over sharing of Cauvery river water. It is insulting to the veteran actor how he is called upon to prove his loyalty to Tamil Nadu, the state where he achieved his stardom.
Rajinikanth, whose last film `Kabali’ saw him play his age, is also in a happy space as far as film offers are concerned. Kabali’s director Pa Ranjith is due to direct another film with him, that is produced by son-in-law Dhanush and Rajinikanth could be cast once again in a role that will showcase him as an actor and not merely as a punch-dialogue delivery machine. His `2.0′ directed by Shankar that will release this October, will be another path-breaking film, technically speaking.
Then there are health concerns that would dissuade Rajini from taking the political plunge. A political role will be far more demanding than a filmy role and his well-wishers would not want to push Rajini into the uncertain and dirty world of Tamil Nadu politics after having survived a health scare last year.
Four, Rajini in recent days has seen what his good friend Kamal Haasan has gone through for making political comments. The latest being a police complaint against him for his comments on the Mahabharata. Donning a political avatar would mean getting under the scanner 24×7. The question is whether Rajinikanth has the thick skin to bear a lot of muck that will come his way.
Five, the jury is out whether the BJP would be the best party in Tamil Nadu to ride on. Having seen friend in Andhra Pradesh, Chiranjeevi come a cropper politically, would weigh on Rajini’s mind.
In 2014, when Modi came to Chennai to campaign, he made it a point to visit Rajinikanth at his residence, attired in a veshti. The BJP feels that the Modi-Rajini combo, if the actor agrees to do the most challenging role in his life, could make a difference.
In the film `Muthu’, Rajini’s character said, “Naan eppo varuven epdi varuven yaarukkum theriyadhu” (No one knows when or how I will arrive). Those who want him to don a political avatar would hope a twist in the tale is round the corner.