‘Is Rajini serious about politics,’ question analysts as he signs new film
Recently, two of Rajini’s close associates Tamilaruvi Manian and Karate Thiyagarajan had assured restive fans that the southern matinee icon would launch his political party in April 2020.Updated: Oct 14, 2019 10:10 IST
Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday headed to the Himalayas on a 10-day ‘spiritual’ break even as he signed up for a new movie project under Kalanidhi Maran’s banner called Sun Pictures after winding up shooting for Murugadoss’s ‘Darbar’. The actor’s trip to the mountains has led to speculation amongst political observers and rivals, whether he is at all serious about launching a political party.
On December 31, 2017, addressing a packed fan base in Chennai; Rajinikanth had declared, “It’s a war... It’s a war. Get ready for battle,” indicating his intention to enter the TN political scene which has been bereft of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi after the demise of the iconic leaders. Since the announcement of his decision to venture into politics, Rajinikanth has acted and signed on five movies.
Assembly elections are a mere 20 months away but the actor who had declared his party would contest all the 234 assembly seats, has hardly made any move in that direction. Initially, the actor converted his informal fan club into the Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) - an association expected to be the base for his political party. The actor also appointed office bearers and functionaries at various levels for RMM. Exactly a year back in October 2018, Rajini had publicly claimed that 90 per cent of work for launching his party had been completed. But since then everything has suddenly turned quiet on Rajini’s political front.
Recently, two of Rajini’s close associates Tamilaruvi Manian and Karate Thiyagarajan had assured restive fans that the southern matinee icon would launch his political party in April 2020.
However, with Rajini surprisingly signing on yet another movie project under Kalanidhi Maran’s Sun Pictures banner, political analysts are increasingly skeptical about his political debut.
“After more than two and half years since the actor made his political announcement, there has hardly been any on ground political activities from Rajini’s side. Also unusually for him he has acted in four films – ‘Kaala’ (2017), ‘2.0’ (2018), ‘Petta’ (2019) and ‘Darbar’ – which is slated to release on Pongal in January 2020. He has already signed another movie. The actor’s back-to-back screen appearance would charm his fans but political time is running out. RMM workers who are waiting for more than two decades for the actor’s political entry are anxious about his intentions,” says S Ramesh, a political analyst and senior advocate with the MHC.
However some RMM workers claim that Rajini acting in more movies could actually help them to increase the members of the party.
“Cinema is the primary identity of our leader (Rajini). We have already enrolled more than one lakh workers for RMM. So, if our president acts in more movies, it could help us to strengthen the party,” said A Sudarshan, an office-bearer with RMM’s Trichy district unit.
Another senior RMM office bearer, speaking on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorized to speak to the media, said, that not much should be read into their leader signing on a new movie, as cinema was Rajini’s profession and politics his passion.
“Professional life and living with a passion are different. Rajini will keep his promise and will launch his political party ahead of 2021 state legislative assembly polls,” the senior RMM leader added.
Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson Babu Murugavel was dismissive about Rajini’s planned political entry saying that the indications were not clear when and if Rajini would launch a party.
“Let Rajini first disclose his party’s name and its principles. It is pointless to comment about his political moves since he has not launched a party yet. However, the AIADMK will welcome it if the actor takes the plunge into politics. We are ready to face him. As per my observation, Rajini’s back-to-back schedules in the film industry means that he is unlikely to enter politics,” Murugavel told Hindustan Times.
DMK organizing Secretary RS Bharati also said that his party was not interested in Rajini’s moves since he’s out of politics now.
“Rajinikanth is continuing with his movie career, and we are on our political path. So, DMK is not ready to comment on him till he enters politics,” he told HT.
Tamil Nadu BJP state secretary Karu Nagarajan, however, felt that Rajini’s delay in launching his party was understandable. “As more than one and half years are there for the TNLA 2021 elections, Rajini may have decided to concentrate on movies for now. I think Rajini could take the decision to drop his film career after launching the party. So, he is acting in movies continuously. The BJP does not see this as a delay or that it could have any kind of negative impact. We will welcome Rajinikanth to politics as his statements over eradicating scams and giving honest governance resemble our party’s stance,” Nagarajan added.
Selvaraj Sankaraiah, another political analyst, said that Rajini may only launch his party closer to the assembly polls to keep the surprise element intact.
“Rajini is unlikely to launch his party even in April 2020. Looks like the actor will launch his party merely five to six months before 2021 polls. In fact, his movie career would help in keeping his brand alive and fresh ahead of the polls, though it has raised concerns among a section of his supporters,” Selvaraj noted.