At the outset I owe a frontal confession -- I am an unabashed fan of Rajnikanth.
I literally grew up with Rajni, his mannerisms, quirky actions, peculiar delivery style, not to mention his punch dialogues. I recall that he was the popular hero during our college days. My colleagues in college competed with each other to mimic him -- from copying his hairstyle to the manner in which he walked, talked and danced.
That was when he was a popular hero. Slowly yet surely in the next few years by the dint of his hard work, Rajni went on to acquire a larger than life image. I have watched him grow from that position into a star and from a star into a successful star and then into super star.
No wonder fans, media and more crucially his opponents interpreted his every move. I distinctly recall how even an innocuous dialogue in one of his films in the mid-nineties was interpreted to be politically loaded against the then chief minister of the day, J Jayalalithaa. The story of the film incidentally was all about taming of the shrew, which added more fuel to the political fire in the state.
The climax of his first brush with politics followed almost instantly. Claiming that if Jayalalithaa were to get re-elected, Rajni thundered, "Even God cannot rescue Tamil Nadu."
Leveraging the anti-Jaya wave that prevailed in the state at that point in time, the state Congress actually split under the leadership of the late G K Moopanar. It was not all. The Congress in its new avatar as the Tamil Manila Congress, which till then held the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham as responsible for the assassination of its leader Rajiv Gandhi, suddenly began courting the party. Such was the power of Rajni who could make and break political alliances. Click here to read further...
Columnist: M R Venkatesh
Image: Scene from Rajnikanth's blockbuster movie Baasha.
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