Kamal Haasan lacks the charisma to change Tamil Nadu politics
Kamal Haasan’s much-talked about entry into politics is a reflection of the vacuum in Tamil Nadu, especially after the demise of Jayalalithaa. The southern state has a tinsel town-politics connect, but neither Haasan nor Rajinikanth will make a difference in politicsopinion Updated: Nov 08, 2017 15:15 IST
On Tuesday, Tamil actor-director Kamal Haasan celebrated his 64th birthday. Over the years November 7 has become a day of festivity for his fan clubs, FM radio stations and entertainment TV channels. This year, however, the news media also joined the party. That’s because in the days and months prior to this, there has been a steady stream of hints suggesting Haasan’s interest to enter electoral politics, and word had spread that a “major announcement” was due on his birthday.
But that turned out to be a damp squib. Haasan talked about a ‘whistleblower’ app that he intends to launch in January or later. The app, he said, was in its beta phase and thus he could not divulge details about it. Contrary to expectations, he didn’t announce a political party, or lay out a blueprint — in short, there wasn’t any significant announcement worth the wait.
The hype surrounding Haasan’s much talked-about entry into electoral politics is nothing but a reflection of the political vacuum in Tamil Nadu, especially after the demise of J Jayalalithaa.
It’s an abnormal scenario because Tamil Nadu is in dire need of a fresh faces in politics. The political scenario in Tamil Nadu today, especially the state of the ruling AIADMK, can be best described in a beautiful word John Milton gave to the English language — pandemonium. The party that was all-powerful in the state 18 months back is today split three ways. The DMK, under its working president MK Stalin, is waiting for the right opportunity, never mind that it has made missing opportunities a habit.
It is this political emptiness that is attracting many, especially from Kollywood to test the waters.
The southern state has a tinsel town-politics connect, but neither Haasan nor Rajinikanth — who has been teasing the people of Tamil Nadu about his anytime-now plunge into politics for more than two decades — will make a difference in politics, were they to throw their hat in the ring.
However, comparisons with MGR’s entry into politics are misplaced. Haasan is a respected and popular film star, but his popularity is nowhere near MGR’s, and that is perhaps the biggest reason why a clarion call from Haasan will not necessarily create the political wave Tamil Nadu needs.
Also, there was a Dravidian movement and political force that catapulted MGR the film star to MGR the chief minister. There is nothing at the moment to suggest that either Haasan or Rajinikanth or any other actor is riding on such a wave.
This does not mean that the questions raised by Haasan are irrelevant or his intensions are suspect. But, in the heat and dust of politics good intensions have seldom converted into political successes.
Of greater political significance was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘courtesy call’ to DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday. Haasan’s press conference on Tuesday was a non-event.
To borrow jargon from the entertainment industry: On November 7, Haasan held a press conference to talk about his new project. Now we have to wait for the poster, followed by a motion poster, a teaser, a trailer, an extended trailer, and only then will the movie release. The fate of that release will be determined in the next assembly or general election.