Rajini – Politically inclined or not?

Every man is his own master, at least we think so. But the men we perceive as the most powerful and willed are often helpless at the hand of circumstances and pressure of all kinds. Knowing what you want is one thing and being able to do it is another and that is where even the biggest celebrities become prisoners of their own fame. The classic example of this is that of the man who is considered one of the most powerful men in Asia, one whose voice is always heard and acted upon (in both good and bad ways) and one who is never far away from the public mind, whether he has a movie coming up or not – Superstar.

Why would we talk about Superstar as a prisoner of his own fame? This is not to once again talk about all those good roles that the wonderful actor in Superstar missed out on because his fans wanted him to be their hero, fighting, dancing, laughing etc. We have talked about that for some time now. But, one does not really feel a great sense of loss because even if a few memorable roles might have been missed, what we have got instead is nothing

than memorable or enthralling, only in a different way, which we all must admit has been enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of people who have watched Superstar movies. In short, this is not about Superstar being the prisoner of his fame, this is about Rajinikanth being a prisoner of the Superstar.

Much of this might be attributed to the fact that his fans have never been able to see Rajinikanth as a distinct individual from Superstar. The blurring of liners between reel and real life is not unique only in Rajini’s case, but it does seem to have a uniquely strong intensity which has made his fans look up to him as their savior in real life too, as in films and thus their incessant demand for him to enter politics.

Anyone can enter politics, but that does not mean that a particular person must enter politics just because there are a huge number of people who expect him to do so. Politics, as it should be, is a field of service (the contemporary perception and reality is something else) where one ideally takes upon oneself the responsibility to move a nation or state and its people towards progress. It does not mean just playing the leader of the masses and enjoying the adulation. Politics is not a place where one can be just the mascot of change and sit back, it is like wearing a crown of thorns. Making a decision to enter politics requires a lot of mental preparedness because it is a field that does not allow a person who has once entered it to distance himself once he thinks he has had enough. In politics, ‘you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain’, to borrow from The Dark Knight. Politics is also not something which can be pursued in one’s leisure. It requires more than full time attention and that would mean distancing oneself from many things that one loves most. For Rajini, it would mean saying bye to movies, something that he loves intensely which is proved by the zest with which he is showing even as he nears the universal retirement age and he looks good for many more years.

The decision to enter politics has to ultimately come from within. A wrong call on whether to enter the field and about when to do it can put even a person of Rajini’s stature in a bad position. With all the coercion and persuasion from his fans, even a calm and spiritually inclined man like Rajini may have trouble thinking freely and clearly. The decision has to be taken by all fans to trust Rajini with the final call. After all, he is his own man with ideas of a quite and peaceful life and no one has any right to tell him what to do. We cannot deny that his fans played a part in making him the Superstar that he is, but if anyone has to enter politics it has to be Rajinikanth and not Superstar. So, let him decide and let us wait and accept what he thinks is best for him.

(By Sudhakar, with inputs from Arun Gopinath.)

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