And trend of movie stars joining Tamil Nadu politics continues

Thursday, Feb 22, 2018,15:10 IST By anju A A A

Chennai | Lights. Camera. Action.
As it has happened many times in Tamil Nadu, once again the action has moved from the screen to a much larger stage of politics.

Veteran film star Kamal Haasan’s entry into politics with the launch of his party ‘Makkal Neethi Mayyam’ (People’s Justice Centre) is the latest addition to the state’s time honoured tradition of film stars leveraging their almost cult-like popularity to seek office.

And to the tinseltown’s credit, the Chennai film industry gave the state two popular actors who became chief ministers in the state.

Actor-cum-filmmaker M.G. Ramachandran led the way, occupying the chief minister’s office for seven years after a three-decade long domination of the silver screen.

Following in his footsteps was one of his protegees, the evergreen J Jayalalithaa, who too became the chief minister and served the state for six terms for over 14 years between 1991 and 2006.

However, to set the record straight, it was DMK founder CN Annadurai, a playwright known for films such as ‘Velaikari’, who led the first non-Congress government in Tamil Nadu in 1967, at a time when Dravidian politics in Tamil Nadu was at its peak.

Former chief minister M Karunanidhi, too, was a noted member of the film fraternity, having penned scripts and dialogues for a number of films, including the super hit ‘Parasakthi’, considered the launch pad of actor Sivaji Ganesan.

Ramachandran parted ways with Karunanidhi over political differences and founded the AIADMK.

Veteran yesteryear actor SS Rajendran also had a fairly decent stint in politics. He won an Assembly election, and was also elected to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Having said that, not all of the actors graduated to a successful career in politics, despite showing initial promise.

Among them was Ramachandran’s contemporary Ganesan, an immensely popular actor who failed to leave a political mark.

Often looked up as a benchmark of acting in Tamil Nadu, Ganesan served in the DMK and the Congress initially, and later found his own party.
He, however, lost the elections in 1989.

Similarly, actor Vijaykanth formed the DMDK in 2005, and aligned with the AIADMK for the 2011 Assembly polls to win a good number of seats.

But he fell out of favour with Jayalalithaa after a spat on the floor of the Assembly.

For a party which did well in the 2006 and 2011 elections, garnering a good number of votes, the DMDK could hardly make an impact in the 2016 polls as part of a five-party bloc, with his party drawing a blank in the 2016 elections and Vijayakanth losing his deposit.