From Baba to Jaya: When Rajinikanth Flirted With Politics
Rajinikanth's latest ambivalent statements on the possibility of his political entry have triggered a buzz in various circles, though this is not for the first time
File photo of Superstar Rajinikanth. (Photo: Reuters)
New Delhi: Will he or won't he is the million-dollar question in the minds of politicians, journalists, political commentators and his fans since 'Superstar' Rajinikanth hinted at a political plunge to “clean the rot in the system”. Rajinikanth's latest ambivalent statements on the possibility of his political entry has triggered a buzz in various circles, though this is not for the first time.
Here’s a look:
- In his 1995 film Muthu, the lyrics of a song featuring the actor said "why should I launch a party now...only time will tell."
- In 1996, he openly defied AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, asking people not to vote for her. “Even God can’t save Tamil Nadu if the AIADMK is elected again” — his famous words still echo in the southern state. 'Amma' eventually lost the Assembly elections and the DMK registered a landslide victory
- In the ensuing political developments, he backed the DMK-TMC (Tamil Maanila Congress, led by the late GK Moopanar) combine, which also cashed in on the severe anti-incumbency against the ruling AIADMK. However, the combine could not keep the momentum on as AIADMK staged a good comeback in the 1998 parliamentary polls.
- In the meantime, the actor continued to give some hints of a political entry in Baba (2002), which also saw Dr S Ramadoss-founded PMK go up in arms against his on-screen smoking. In the film, dealing with the protagonist's transformation from a carefree atheist to a believer, the plot details the actor's brush with a wily politician. In the film, Rajinikanth bats for a particular clean politician but soon after the man is killed, the actor is shown approaching the people, hinting he would lead them.
- His relations with the AIADMK improved in the later years and the party even started wooing him. He had been on good terms with Jayalalithaa in the recent past and had even rued he had 'hurt' her back in 1996.
- In 2004, he pledged his vote for the BJP-AIADMK combine because of the BJP’s stand on river interlinking, which he said would solve the country’s drinking water problems.
- In 2008, he said it would be “foolish to think that one is successful in politics due to capability, experience and hard work. It’s all a question of time and circumstances. If the time is not right, nothing can help”.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Rajinikanth at his Poes Garden residence in 2014 when he visited Chennai for the first time since assuming office.
- In February this year, Rajinikanth said he “liked power” — two words enough to send waves through social media. However, he later clarified that he was talking about spiritual power and not material power.
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