In Tamil Nadu, since 1950’s, Dravidian politics has gained immense popularity among masses and continues to do so. If you want to know how popular it is, then google for the list of chief ministers of TamilNadu. Since 1967, the state has had a chief minister either from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) or Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). DMK and AIADMK were offshoots of Dravidar Kazhagam, which spearheaded the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu.
What is more interesting in it is the closely interlinked journey of Tamil cinema and Tamil Nadu politics. To give a perspective, five of the seven chief ministers(C.N.Annadurai, M.Karunanidhi, M.G.Ramachandran, Janaki Ramachandran, J.Jayalalitha) have/had links with Tamil cinema. They were either leading actors or screenplay writers.
Parties used plays and movies as a medium for spreading propaganda. It was an easy and effective way to reach masses and spread their ideology. Yesteryear leading actors such as MGR and Sivaji Ganesan were deep into politics and MGR went on to become Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. This was 1950 to 1975. Then in 1975, Tamil cinema underwent a transition and new actors came into the scene. While Kamal Haasan didn’t exhibit interest in politics, RajiniKanth has been harbouring life long wish of entering politics. It is still alive and evident in his movies.
Fast forward to 2015, we had Karthik Muthuraman, Vijayakanth, Sarathkumar and couple of others go on to float a party and fight elections. A lot of other actors have joined existing political parties. In what has been eras of Duumvirates(two leading actors who are dominant in that period — MGR-Sivaji, Rajini-Kamal), Vijay and Ajith are two dominant actors since last decade.
What started as a medium to spread the Dravidian movement propaganda, had taken a serious turn to further the cause of an individual and his/her long harboured wish to enter politics and taste power. Tamil cinema and its movies have become an entry ticket and a stairway to politics. There are songs and scenes that praise the good deeds of the actor and how great and godsend he is. Tamil cinema and politics has been inseparable since 1950’s and still is.
Actors voice their opinion in any issue related to common people of Tamil Nadu. They sit on hunger strikes. This is all good and should be appreciated. But it doesn’t stop there. Heroes continue to churn movies with a strong scent of political agenda and they belter out dialogues which ultimately comes down to “I will give my blood and even my life for the welfare of common man”.
I am that common man. I am one of countless common man in Tamil Nadu.
Nothing good has ever come out of worshipping an individual. It is even worse when that individual actively seeks for it. Power might be intoxicating at first but it’s a suicide.
Actors can get their fans to do some constructive work for the society instead of milking every ounce of their dignity by taking advantage of their naivety. There are actors who do lot of constructive work and their work should be well appreciated. But some of them still advance their self cause of entering politics. At the end of day, actors will achieve their political aspirations(in the process make ton of money) and fans will be cheated.
There is strong stats that tamil people too want movies that have solid stories. They have encouraged lot of neo-noir films and films that have different screenplays. Beyond the hero, still story and screenplay matters. Movies that had great ensemble of actors but with a weak story and shabby screenplay have failed spectacularly. But movies with relatively unknown or new entrants with good story and superb screenplay have reaped rewards. Jigarthanda, Soothu Kavvum, Naduvula Konjam Pakkathula Kannom, Sathuranga Vettai, Netru Indru Nazhai, Kaadhal, Pizza are few examples.
Why can’t tamil movies be made for just for what it is, that is, to entertain people where they can cry and laugh their hearts out. It seems that tamil people too want to watch such movies that are devoid of furthering political aspirations of its heroes. When will our heroes learn?