Movie superstar Rajinikanth made an impactful entry into the world of politics with his maiden speech, following intense speculation after he made an announcement sometime ago. But the spontaneous reception he got as he unveiled a statue of Tamil Nadu’s iconic matinee idol and political leader M.G. Ramachandran was reflective of his ability to connect with people. He didn’t elaborate on issues as much as his film world colleague Kamal Haasan did on the day he formally launched his party last month. But Rajini boldly claimed MGR’s political legacy, clearly indicating the votebank he was aiming for was that of the AIADMK of MGR and Jayalalithaa. But in reality, MGR and Rajini weren’t known to be really close to each other, or had even interacted much.
It’s disappointing Rajini spoke like a seasoned politician, eulogising Tamil Nadu’s old leaders, rather than setting his own agenda and his ideology or tackling any of the various issues confronting the state. However, his claim that politicians in power weren’t doing their job, which is why filmstars were entering politics, seemed based on irrefutable logic. It does appear that “Thalaivar” (leader), as he is referred to, was at his charismatic best when he took up with greater earnestness this matter of his entering the political field. Addressing an audience far bigger than the college students who were in attendance, Rajini made his intentions clear, which means Tamil Nadu’s political space wears an open look: with the magnetism of cinema and the charisma of filmstars back in the mix after the passing of J. Jayalalithaa.