What’s cooking in captain’s kitchen for elections?

  Politics and cinema are intermarried; at least in India, especially in Tamil Nadu where the occurrence has always been on a high. May be the political parties are deceived by the crowd thronging the election meetings addressed by film stars thinking they would translate into votes. Or actors think they can trade their successful stints as good Samaritans in movies to politics. Either way, this scenario provides fodder for interesting retrospection.

In a State (Tamil Nadu) where only two parties always had their piece of (ruling) cake, a strong third party (or a third front coalition) has always been only on paper. An ambition of many aspiring political parties that never reached fruition. But Vijayakanth’s entry into regional politics fuelled a renewed interest in that topic. And it was no mean task that he seized the Vriddhachalam constituency, PMK’s stronghold, in the 2004 elections.

Backed by his success in cinema, politics was Vijayakanth’s obvious choice and it was only a matter of
time he announced his political party. Liberal hints were thrown in his movies as precursor to his political entry before the announcement was made. After preparing the stage for his entry, he made a grand entry; just like he would do in his movies.

Although his party is still only in its grassroots stage, Vijayakanth is tantalizing his opponents by being elusive. What with elections drawing closer, he needs to take a decision without further ado.

Vijayakanth is one of the very recent success stories of movie stars from South India turning to politics – although it’s still early to call him a success, the fact that his party is very strong in the hinterlands of Tamil Nadu goes on to prove that captain has already chartered his way to success. Another quite recent example is Chiranjeevi who floated his Praja Rajyam party just ahead of the 2009 elections in Andhra Pradesh. His meetings brought nightmares to the major ruling parties during the election campaigns for the sheer number of spectators they attracted; Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam settled for 18 seats in the Andhra Pradesh State Assembly. A far more successful run than Vijayakanth’s.

Captain is training himself into a thoroughbred politician. He still hasn’t quit movies; kind of sailing in two boats. Though now he has very less time to dedicate for films, his movies have gradually decreased over the years. But he ensures that the ones releasing have strong political flavor in it. Last year’s release Virudhagiri stands testimony for the fact that Vijayakanth is using his movies to probably propagate his political agenda. Interestingly, Virudhagiri was also directed by him. The same applies to movies released in the recent past namely Engal Aasan, Arasangam, Sabari and Dharmapuri. It looks as if he feels the necessity to have a presence in movies despite being aware of the fact that he has moved on to test the political waters.

Vijayakanth’s entry into politics played out like an underplayed drama unlike his movies that are always eventful. When the entire Tamil Nadu was playing ‘will he, won’t he’ about superstar Rajinikanth’s announcement on his stance in regional politics, Vijayakanth announced his party formation. His brief stint at the Nadigar Sangam – that he very efficiently pulled through by the way – perhaps also helped him to become a politician.

When he headed the Nadigar Sangam, Vijayakanth was attributed to bring together the association and clear its debts. Under his leadership, Nadigar Sangam became an organization that can stand on its own feet. All this played up as foreplay for his entry into politics.

And it’s a well known fact that no other actor in the recent past has been able to pull it off like Vijayakanth in politics. Sharathkumar is one such case in point. His political career is mired with unstable decisions about his coalition with other political parties and his own ambition on forming his own party. That effectively nullified spouse Radhika ambitious political career. Talking of which, Kushboo is the latest to jump the political bandwagon. Vijay’s interest in politics is known unambiguously to his fans and the people of Tamil Nadu.

Over and above all this, notwithstanding the awareness that his party cannot achieve the majority in the elections to rule the state, Vijayakanth is still pondering the options thrown at him. Captain himself is quite aware of this phenomenon and is not secret about his options. But it won’t be too long since he decided a political alliance. After all, the elections aren’t that far.

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