Tamil actors Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan at the inaugural of the Shivaji Ganeshan memorial in Chennai on Sunday.(HT Photo)
Tamil actors Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan at the inaugural of the Shivaji Ganeshan memorial in Chennai on Sunday.(HT Photo)

‘It takes more than stardom to be successful in politics’: Rajinikanth takes a dig at Kamal Haasan

This is the first time the two actors, who have both hinted at plans for politics, shared a stage with members of the state Cabinet after Haasan attacked the ruling AIADMK.
By KV Lakshmana | Hindustan Times, Chennai
UPDATED ON OCT 01, 2017 11:46 PM IST

It is beginning to look all too familiar and a little tiring.

Tamil cinema’s superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan on Sunday again talked politics, dropped broad hints about taking the plunge but, like the previous times, stopped short of making the big announcement.

Tamil Nadu has been battling political uncertainty after chief minister and ruling AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa, also a successful actor, died on December 5 after a prolonged illness.

The ruling party has been hit by factionalism and there is a political vacuum in the state, which the two stars are believed to be eyeing.

On Sunday, the two men next to each other at a government function to inaugurate the Shivaji Ganeshan memorial – Mani Mandapam, honouring an icon of Tamil cinema. They exchanged pleasantries but when they spoke, Rajinikanth took a dig at Haasan.

“It takes more than stardom to be successful in politics,” 66-year-old Rajinikanth said. “Kamal knows what is needed, I don’t. Maybe he would have told me that two months back. Now, he tells me to come along with him.”

The 62-year-old Haasan has in the recent weeks stolen a march over Rajinikanth. He visited Kerala chief minister and veteran CPI (M) leader Pinarayi Vijayan and declared, “Left leaders are my heroes, I am certainly not saffron.’’

He followed it up with a meeting with Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal, a known BJP baiter.

The BJP has been wooing Rajinikanth, without much success. Top leaders of party and its ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, are sure Rajinikanth will enter politics but with his own outfit which will have an alliance with the BJP.

Rajinikanth, on his part, has stuck to talking in riddles about his political foray.

“As a big fan (of Ganeshan), I would have come to the function even if I was not invited,” Haasan said, in a veiled reference to his rocky relationship with the state government.

Haasan, who successfully hosted and on Saturday wrapped up the first season on Bigg Boss in Tamil, has been critical of the state government.

Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami stayed away from the function, as he didn’t want to share the stage with Haasan, sources said.

Haasan could follow an AAP-like model – launch a social movement that would eventually morph into a political party, sources close to him said. The AAP was born out of a stir against corruption.

As the two seem to be headed on different political paths, their rivalry at the box office is set to be renewed.

Filmmaker Shankar on Saturday announced a sequel to Haasan starrer and highly successful 1996 Tamil film Indian. Indian 2 will see Hassan coming together with Shankar after 20 years as the filmmaker wraps up Rajinikanth starrer 2.0.

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