Thalaivar Paraak, Get ready!
As Steve Jobs reckoned, when you connect the dots backwards, things make sense. Indeed.
Muthu, directed by KS Ravikumar, Superstar’s lucky charm of the 90s was a super hit movie of it’s times. Ardent fans had favourite moments right from the word “Go” – when Thalaivar breaks a coconut and catapults into his Horse-carriage and sings along yet another philosophical song which remains one of his all-time favourites – Oruvan Oruvan Mudalali. Right before interval, the film moves in to a flashback and we see Thalaivar adorned as a Maharaja; what follows in the next 20 mins is yet another philosophical number – Vidukathaiya Inda Vazhkai… Vazhvai nee thedi, Vadakke nee ponaal, Naangal povadhengu… Every time the Superstar had decided to quit acting / public life and move to his favourite haunt in the Himalayas, fans cried.
More than anything else, this film had one of his earliest political dialogues – during the drama scenes as well as in the song Kuluvaalile – Katchiyellam ippo namakedukku, Kaalathin kayil adhu irukku… and for the next 25 years, everytime fans wanted him to enter politics or the public and media quizzed him about his political entry, he would simply show his finger to the sky. Millions of his fans have always believed that he will become a full time Politician.
This movie was a critical mass for Superstar because it was in that year that he had a big public fued with the former CM of TN Ms. J Jayalalithaa and the resultant win for the coalition that he supported which inclided DMK-TMC combine. Although he had an opportunity to rule the state, the actor remained reluctant all along. In 2001, in and as Arunachalam, he forms a Political Party in the film and later dismantles it. Once again, in his 2004 outing Baba, he hinted the characteristics of a potential Chief Minister candidate, while also indicating that he was never for the seat, power and position. While the world termed him a Reluctant Politician-to-be, he cared a damn for his critics and let them lose sleep instead.
After the demise of Ms. Jayalalithaa and subsequently, Md. M. Karunanidhi, he expressed publicly that there was a political vacuum in TN politics and showed his keen interest to fill it. Once again fans rejoiced and this time, he took things quite seriously, meeting his fans for a Photo-Op through a selection model. The much hyped event which went on for over a week culminated on 31st Dec. 2017 when he announced that he would enter Politics positively. From then till he actually did, he has taken 36 months. Well. Even now, he has announced merely that he will announce his Political Movement on 31 Dec. 2020 and the world is expecting this occurrence eagerly.
PS: This post is not political, rather a prose by a fan who adulates the matinee idol like no other.
Rajinikanth has carefully studied the political opportunities grabbed as well as lost by a number of popular Stars – from Cinema to Arts to Sports including his own matinee idols Sivaji Ganesan, NTR, Rajkumar and Amitabh Bachhan. He has seen how some of them have gained victory while some had to eat a humble pie with a loss so bad that they themselves found it painful and forgetful. So, he has measured his each step carefully over the years, barely with a few well-wishers to guide him, especially his gurus KB and Cho no more.
In his subsequent films after Muthu, he has always ensured one or more political dialogues – from Arunachalam to Darbar (2020). In fact in Petta, he reckons in the opening scene, why new comers are disallowed and only those who have remained in the fray make the cut (without explicitly mentioning Politics). From fiery dialogues to lyrics in songs, political overtones have been aplenty. In Pa. Ranjith’s Kabali and Kaala, he took a completely different political perspective, with his characters having a strong shade of Dr. BR Ambedkar’s leanings, though in real life, he neither mentions nor professes it openly. His newly acclaimed “Spiritual Politics” has gained as much adulation as criticism with his openness to Devotion & Spirituality. Well, with an oldest civilasation and over 40,000 temples in the State, it is only those who live in a fool’s paradise who call this land as an atheist one.