The inseparable twins. Are they, really?

The inseparable twins. Are they, really?

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Nadigar Sangam elections are over, results announced and here I am feeling slightly sad that it has all ended. Going through some comments on the Facebook I realized I am not the only one.


Now that set me thinking.


What was it about this election that created such media frenzy, we even had media camping at the election venue and live telecasting/tweeting/posting on FB minute by minute update? Why, just why did it get so much attention?


Every post on FB got immediate response. We had people posting messages supporting their favorite team, people outside the film industry.


We had lots of people criticizing the attention given by the media and that included members of the film fraternity itself.


When I saw comments criticizing media for the coverage given to the elections I wanted to reply “Why did you read it?” I did not because the sensible side of me was also thinking, why am I interested in this? Why am I following the live coverage? I even woke up at 2 am to check out the results. I live in Singapore. I actually felt happy for the Pandavar team.


No, I am not a movie buff. I watch a few movies on TV. I go to theatre once in 2 years. I don’t have any favorite actor. I am not interested in stuff like who is dating who and the kind of gossips. No clue about the technology.


I cannot speak for others, but here are my reasons for my interest in the election.


I was born and brought up in Tamil Nadu, a state where cinema and politics were the inseparable Siamese twins. I am interested in cinema because I am interested in politics. With all my Chief Ministers coming from the film industry, it seems only natural that I am looking for the next generation of political leaders in them.


We have not changed much when it comes to where we look for our leaders. Such is the power and reach of Tamil cinema. There is definitely a change in,how we look for our leaders.


My grandparents looked up to the hero, who played a noble and righteous soul.They cursed and swore when baddies came up on the screen. My next generation loves Siddharth Abimanyu and Vinayak Mahadev.  I am from the in-between generation. M.N. Nambiar who frightened me as a kid, became an adorable old man in my teenage years. We accepted when the actors playing villains turned into heroes. When Superstar proudly declared that he loves playing villain he just proved the point, “reel” image just did not matter anymore.


Thanks to social media, actors are not distant ‘stars’ anymore. I don’t know where my neighbor went for her vacation, I certainly know where Kushboo went.  I don’t know, how much my nephew scored in his exams. I know how much Lakshmi Menon did. That is how close they are. It is only natural I want to know what is happening in their association.


What started as a general interest, got more of my attention as key players emerged. We are not influenced by the ‘reel’ images. Not anymore. We are watching leaders in the making. We are observing them closely, evaluating and judging them. As Vivek pointed out, this is “Syria war”. Yes, a small population of 3000, just bigger than my school election and that is the exact reason why it is interesting. Just the right size, to do the kind of case study we do in business schools.


There was so much drama, controversies, allegations and counter allegations. I am an outsider and I am not interested in all the details. I was just interested in observing how they were handling and reacting to the situation.Thanks to the media I got ample opportunity.


We observed actors, people we are familiar with, as they went about articulating their vision, defining strategy, proposing change, handling conflicts and managing situations. The spotlight was obviously on how they communicated with their own people, media and the general public. The kind of stuff taught in business schools and I did pick up some lessons I might use at work or even home.


Here are some of my personal favorite moments,


When a reporter asked Pandavar team, if Vishal had a personal agenda behind this whole thing, the team was quick to respond, “what do you think of us, fools?”


When the team was asked if they had time to spare for the numerous activities, pat came the reply from Karthi on how they would have to delegate and structurally organize. MBA in him.


The lighthearted but sensible way in which Sathyaraj articulated his stance.


The way Prakashraj clearly explained his stance and his reasons.


Shantanu Bhagyaraj’s diplomatic reply when he was asked about his father being present in both the team’s meetings.


Radhika Sarathkumar apologizing for her brother’s foul language.


The obvious discomfort visible on the faces of the people present on the stage when speakers lost their cool.


Karthi scored again as he diplomatically articulated priorities when questioned about Superstar’s request to rename the association.


Classic Goundamani rejoinder when he was asked about renaming the association.


The way they quickly rallied to douse fire before things got out of hand. More than once.


The actors were repeatedly questioned if they can remain united after what happened during the run up to the election. Everybody, was quick to reply in the affirmative as they downplayed the rivalry. How many times did we hear “we are a family” from both the senior and the younger generation.


The obvious bonhomie with which they greeted their fellow stars at the election venue.


The speech by both the winners and losers after the election results were announced.


My personal most favorite was the conversation between actor Sampath and a TV anchor. When Sampath sort of accused the media of blowing the events out of proportions to boost their TRP, the anchor was quick to reply, that it was also because of the media that actors took an interest in the activities and turned up in large numbers to vote.


Well, he just effectively summarized the love-hate relationship between the film industry and media.


The reason why I felt happy about Pandavar team winning was not because I had something against the other team. Vishal and his team proved something. When what started as an issue turned into a cause, a bunch of youngsters who were supposedly indifferent to the activities of the association came together to voice their support, one way or the other.


Thanks also to the media coverage, actors and actresses, turned up in large numbers to exercise their vote. Many were obviously happy to be exercising their right, happy to be able to make their choice, happy to be part of a change they believed in. Basically happy to be part of a democratic process. Aren’t we all?


As Karthi pointed out in his speech after winning the election, they have a bigger responsibility in front of them. They have to prove themselves now. They have set the standards for themselves and they have to deliver. They know we are going to be watching them closely. If they can make a difference to the lives of their fellow artists, well, we have to give it them.


I don’t think I am looking for next CM candidate. The point here is they do more than entertain us.


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