Tamil Nadu superstar, Rajinikanth was yet again in the news these past couple of weeks for reasons other than acting.
Ever since he cancelled his visit to Sri Lanka earlier this year, the actor had been receiving flak for playing safe on the Sri Lankan issue.
When he was asked of the Sri Lankan issue just a few weeks ago, Rajini had evaded the question which had irked several Tamil Nadu activists and politicians.
Why play safe?
For an actor of Rajini’s stature, who has billions of fans worldwide, it is not easy to make just any comment and not get any reactions.
Therefore, his non-commital nature regarding the Sri Lankan issue is acceptable, and understandable. There are many in Tamil Nadu who make use of the plight of the Northern Tamils for their political and personal gains.
Tamil Nadu had anyway earned the wrath of Sri Lanka ever since the war ended due to its criticism of the then Sri Lankan government.
The actors and artistes of the State were banned from visiting Sri Lanka for performances. They were even threatened that they would not be allowed back into the country if they went ahead with their shows despite the protests.
This was the situation in the case of Rajinikanth too. So one could only expect a diplomatic silence whenever a question related to Sri Lanka is posed towards him.
The actor who has acted in 160 films in his 43 year career has been an influential figure, not only in the State’s film industry, but also in its political sphere.
However, the actor has been non-commital on his political presence and has been limiting his activities by just extending his support to various politicians during elections.
However, his brief sabbatical from films after 1999, and a further gap of three years after the debacle of his film ‘Baba’ shut the rumour mills for a while.
His absence from the silver screen also resulted in speculations regarding his political future.
However, the release of Chandramukhi in 2005 marked his re-entry into films. Ever since then, he has made sure he was active in films. However, since of late, he has refrained from making references to his political entry.
The star met his fans recently and made statements regarding his political entry. Again, it was a cryptic statement which did not provide anything new. For over 25 years, the actor has been very vague on his political entrance, which has to an extent, frustrated his ardent fans who have urged him to enter politics.
Actors turned politicians
Many prominent actors of the State have forayed into politics, and many more are to follow. But only a few have succeeded.
Former Chief Ministers M.G. Ramachandran, and Jayalalithaa Jayaram are probably the only two to have tasted success in films and politics.
Many actors who have entered politics have got lost in the race. They are still in politics, but not even close to their powerful screen presences in the movies.
For Rajinikanth, this would definitely be at the back of his mind too.
He is already 67 years old but still has a market in Kollywood. The question is whether it would be too late for him if he does decide to enter politics, in a State which has been ruled by artistes and actors for decades.