Politics and cinema: the twin brothers!
  Kushboo’s entry into politics might not have been a tough guess for many of us. She was obviously waiting for the cue. And what probably prompted the decision now could be the Supreme Court’s endorsement on her socially relevant comments about pre-marital sex. Perfect timing and the ruling DMK was more than happy to embrace her candidature. (That she got immediately evicted from the famous ‘Jackpot’ game show, hosted by her, that was being aired on Jaya TV is a totally different story altogether. I assume she calculated all such risks before stepping into politics. Now she is happily hosting ‘Azhagiya Tamil Magan’ in Vijay.)

Kushboo is a case in point, for we know there are many actors nurturing a not-so-secret dream to take the plunge into politics. For instance, Vijay. He isn’t secretive about his political plans and what with the announcement of even a party flag; Vijay’s entry into mainstream politics is only a question of when. And in which party?

So what makes the actors think they can be (better?) politicians? That they have connections or that they are endorsed by leading political parties? A mix of both! Or is it the
illusion that a huge populace will vouch for them. A bunch of naïve and hyper section of the general population, who invariably label themselves as fans and hoot at the introductory scenes, might have given them that notion.

But is that notion completely untrustworthy at all? Not precisely. Take the case of Vijayakanth. He set a perfect stage for his political entry in his countless movies with the so called social messages and foiling innumerable terror plots, saving India’s face. It was easy to brand himself as a saviour of masses from the evil minded terrorists, corrupt officials and malicious politicians. Now that’s brand management they don’t teach you at the IIMs.

Vijayakanth floated his political party DMDK in 2005 just ahead of the elections and went on to win a seat in the ensuing 2006 assembly elections. Further, his party is also blamed for splitting the votes of other major parties.

So when Vijayakanth started campaigning for his party during the 2006 assembly elections, an office attendant at my workplace told me that he held him in high regard. “I’m his fan saar, I will vote only for him,” he declared his support. “So?” I asked. “Is that the only reason you will cast your vote in his favour? That he fought terrorists in some movie?” He had no answer to that but a silly hope sprouted in me that my question made him contemplate.

It’s long since established that cinema and politics are inseparable entities. If not in any other part of the country, politics in Tamil Nadu is certainly home to more film stars. Almost all the political leaders, barring a few, who ruled the state, had roots in cinema.

Cinema is so interconnected with our lives; it’s almost like a basic necessity. It’s hardly surprising that our matinee idols are significant figures in our lives. We name our children after them, form fervent fan clubs and go onto equate their screen presence to God almighty and worship them (by building temples of course).

But is it so bad to have politicians from films? It need not necessarily be, if the entry is triggered by genuine interest which is only the case in very few instances. Largely, politics just serves as a tool to extend the actor’s territory and to enjoy the fictitious power the actors establish when they are in the celluloid. Power can give you a high, an inescapably blinding one at that.

So the key for us, general public, is detachment. Stars are what they are on screen. Outside that, they are regular people who might or might not be interested in politics. Their cinematic credentials are no way a yardstick to determine their abilities in politics. No matter how hard they fought for the country or for the underprivileged in movies.

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