Rajini’s speech assumes significance since it comes close on the heels of Kamal setting a January deadline for the launch of his new political party.
Chennai: In a subtle dig at his friend and actor Kamal Haasan, who is carefully choreographing his launch into politics, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday said one needs “something beyond celebrity status” to succeed in politics.
To make his point, Mr Rajini cited the example of late Sivaji Ganesan’s failure in politics despite being a top-notch actor.
Mr Rajinikanth, who is still keeping his cards close to the chest on whether he would take the plunge into politics, used the dais at the opening of late actor Sivaji Ganesan’s memorial on the banks of the Adyar here to talk about politics and Mr Kamal, who was also seated on the dais on Sunday.
“A legend of our times, Sivaji Ganesan has left us a lesson not just in cinema but also in politics. He launched his own political party and lost elections, including from his own seat. This was not an insult to him, but the people of that constituency. So, the message is that fame and clout (earned in cinema) is not enough to succeed in politics. There should be something beyond that,” Rajinikanth said.
“I don’t know what it is. But I think Kamal Haasan would know and even if he knows the secret, he would not tell me. Maybe he would have told me if I had asked him two months back. When I say you (Haasan) are senior to me in cinema, and are like an elder brother and ask him to share that with me, he says come with me and I will tell,” he said.
Rajinikanth was obviously referring to Kamal Haasan’s major political statement in July asking people to send complaints to Ministers about corruption in their departments.
Political observers see the comments as Rajinikanth avenging Kamal Hassan’s indirect dig at him at the 75th anniversary celebrations of DMK mouthpiece “Murasoli’ in August. At that event, Kamal had said, “self-respect is more important than “self-protection” in what was seen as an indirect reference to Rajinikanth who did not share the dais with DMK leaders and senior journalists but instead sat in the audience.
They also said Rajinikanth’s comments are also seen as a symbol of his taking a few steps backward as he may have decided already against active politics.
Kamal Haasan, who was seated on the dais on Sunday, chuckled as Rajinikanth spoke about him and his inevitable entry into politics. Rajini’s speech assumes significance since it comes close on the heels of Kamal setting a January deadline for the launch of his new political party.
In his speech, Kamal confined himself only to praise Sivaji Ganesan and termed him as an actor who transcended state, national and continental boundaries. “If I had not been in cinema, I would have been a fan and even if I was not allowed entry here, I would have been waiting (outside). None could have stopped me,” he said.
Sivaji Ganesan, one of the legends of the Tamil cinema, could not taste success in politics despite achieving tremendous name and fame in tinsel town. His political venture failed and he himself lost from his own seat when he contested the Assembly elections in 1980s.