Why Rajnikant is no MGR and cannot be a success in politicsRajnikant is the superstar, though fading and ageing, of Tamil cinema. He is not such a craze elsewhere, as most of his movies are only dubbed in other languages like Telugu.
He has announced his entry into politics. However, while there is a single section of the press that has gone gaga about his ambitious plans, the vast majority of Tamil people are not impressed.
Not without reason. He is no MGR. It required Mr M G Ramachandran, to question the source of funds of his own party, the DMK, as treasurer. He did not find any answers. He was seen as a threat by the corrupt elite that ruled the DMK then, lead by Karunanidhi, one of the shrewdest politicians India has ever seen.
But the story did not end there. MGR had such a clean image, and was a hugely pro-poor man, who helped thousands fund their children's education, or medical expenses and so on. His image on screen was matched by his deeds in public life.
In comparison, even for the Chennai floods, Rajnikant gave just ten hundred thousand rupees. A much lesser known director and actor had given ten times this amount. Rajnikant is said to be worth more than sixty thousand crore rupees. Of course, this is just speculation, but at least fifty percent of this would positively be his.
Yet, he has done nothing for the poor. He has not even announced his party's name. Though he has acted in movies for more than 35 years, he has never ever opened his mouth on any political development, except in 1999, when he supported the DMK-Congress alliance against Jayalalitha, and this alliance got all the forty seats, including the one in Pondicherry. However, it was not due to Rajnikant's support alone. Jayalalitha had the worst record of corruption and that helped.
MGR rose through the ranks. His image not only made him the Chief Minister, but also helped him to build bridges with people. Even when Chennai was going through the worst ever water crisis, he brought in water through tankers, from as far as forty kilometers. People respected him for his sincerity. He reduced the bus fares three times during his rule.
Rajnikant is a real reel person, only. He has never taken his actions on screen, or his dialogues, to their logical conclusion. He cannot take on the DMK, which is a huge cadre based party, with a huge voter support of 32% even today. Rajnikant, would eat into anti-AIADMK votes, and that would help the DMK.
Rajnikant will become a cropper in politics, at least for the next seven years. It is yet to be seen what impact he can make. At the present moment, his impact seems to be less than even five percent.