Rajinikanth was never meant to be in politics

Rajini speaks of ‘spritual politics’. At a time when scamsters are running away with billions of India’s money you can’t change politics with spirituality, says the superstar’s friend Shatrughan Sinha


Subhash K Jha

Tamil  superstar Rajinikanth’s proclamation that he  won’t pursue politics for health reasons, is a delayed manifestation of his resolve to stay away from politics. A  young bright Tamil actor who is known to raise his voice within and outside the Tamil film industry tells me, “No one  from Rajini Sir’s family wanted him in politics. This was just his followers and fans goading him on. He is not cut out for the dirty wheeling-dealing of politics.”

Two years  ago in an interview to me in  2016 Rajini’s elder daughter Sondarya had said, “With our dad, there are no two faces. What you see is what he is. Whether it's a fan or a producer, he treats them all the same. He has been down to earth all his life. He will never change. We, as his children, try to emulate that trait of our dad. The family is very conscious of his health. We are making sure he doesn't strain himself. We are aware that he is as precious to his fans as to his family.”

In other words, no politics for Rajinikanth. And this was decided four years ago by his family and his medical team.

In fact in February this year, a source had told me, “ Rajinikanth may quit politics even before formally taking to active politics. While Kamal Haasan’s political plans are now midway between ‘probable’ and  ‘doable’ Rajinikanth has more or less decided  to not  go ahead  with  his political career. He  doesn’t know politics. He would rather let his political  ideology be  reflected  in  the  cinema that he does.”

The source went on to inform that  Rajinikanth’s family  was not keen that he emerge  as an active figure in Tamil politics. “There is too much backbiting . Rajini  won’t be able to cope. He is too simple and uncorrupted to  get into politics. Besides he  needs  to take care of his health. His frail  health  may not be  able to take  the extra stress.”

Kamal Haasan, on the other hand, stands with his foot halfway  into politics. He announced the name  of his political party Makkal Needhi Maiam last year. He  is currently shooting  for the sequel  to Shankar’s Indian. He has not decided  yet whether his party would be contesting the next Lok Sabha elections.

The intrepid politician Shatrughan Sinha had warned his colleagues from the entertainment industry who are rushing where angels fear to tread.

In an interview to me Shatruji had said, “I hope they have worked out their political screenplays in some detail before taking the plunge. Mujhe aisa lagta toh nahin hai.I hope I am wrong. Because politics is no bed of roses.Actors come from a world of glamour. They are addicted to glamour. In politics there is a lot of power.And power is extremely glamorous. Actors come to politics in the hope of building on their glamour and fame.”

But the truth, says Shatruji, is somewhat removed from expectations. “Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan should be very clear on why they want to come into politics. Why just Rajinikanth? Even Kamal Haasan is a very good friend of mine. They never sought my advice before plunging into politics. If they had, I’d have warned them about the pitfalls of politics. Look at the way I’ve been treated by my parent party. I was given to understand that I’d be given cabinet rank. Instead a television actress was given cabinet position. I was only subjected to humiliation and indifference. We actors are brought into political parties to draw in the crowds. But when we do draw in the crowds the party gets insecure about our popularity. It’s really a very tricky situation.”

Did Shatruji’s friend Rajinikanth seek his advice about plunging into politics?

The answer is in the negative. “No, Rajini didn’t seek my advice. If he did I’d have advised him against it. Look, it’s not going to be easy. M K Stalin has a very strong power-base in Tamil Nadu’s politics. He has done a lot for the people. Rajini can’t ignore Stalin’s position. And why are we only talking about Rajini? Kamal Haasan too is a dear friend. He too will find the going really tough.

It is not easy to convince the voter that you are a capable leader just because you’re a popular actor. Rajini speaks of ‘spritual politics’. At a time when scamsters are running away with billions of India’s money you can’t change the politics with spirituality. Desperate situations call for desperate remedies. Can Rajini and Kamal deliver?”

Well, the  answer is  clear now. At least halfway clear.

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