Kamal Haasan: The Emerging Face of Tamil Politics


Kamal Haasan, the veteran actor who enthralled millions of his followers for over 4 decades with his charming personality and jaw dropping performances on the silver screen, has finally stepped into the political foray of Tamil Nadu with the launch of his newly formed political party ‘Makkal Needhi Maiam’ which stands for ‘People, Justice and Center’ in a public gathering in Madurai the political and cultural capital of Tamil Nadu. To launch his party, Haasan invited the present Chief Minister of Delhi as the chief guest for the event, who has been a great fan of the actor for the multiple roles he played during his silver screen days and supported Kamal Haasan’s decision to establish a party that can bring in the revolutionary changes and save the state from the prevalent two-party system that have dominated the politics of Tamil Nadu.

The rise of Dravidian Politics in Tamil Nadu

The launch of his political party has been portrayed as a ‘simple beginning’ for the change required in the political environment of Tamil Nadu, where DMK and AIADMK have fought against each other without any major opposition since the late 1960s, as the period saw the Dravidian politics take center stage, as regional politics became influential in the political scenario of the state ever since. The state has been marred with controversies and corruption as prominent leaders from both the parties have been accused of wrongdoings time and again, thus Makkal Needhi Maiam plays an important role in changing the political situation of the state by giving the people of Tamil Nadu a viable alternate for the next state election.

From Stardom to Politician

Kamal Haasan has been vocal about the disturbing events taking place in the country and the state of Tamil Nadu in the recent times, with growing communal tensions, government’s inactivity to curb down corruption, providing better economic opportunities to the peripheral sections of the society, and other primary issues that haven’t been addressed by the Central and State governments. He felt that in the 40-odd years of his acting career he hasn’t been able to give back to the millions of people who paid to watch him in the theaters, thus he felt the need to dedicate his time towards serving the people who made him the star he is today. He dropped a few hints of becoming actively involved in the political landscape of the state around September last year. Kamal Haasan flagged off his tour yesterday from Rameswaram in the morning where thousands of supporters gathered, vociferously calling slogans ”Hail Varungala Muthalvere (future Chief Minister), Hail Kamal Haasan” and waiting for the star to embark on his journey of entering the political landscape of the state.

The Rally of HOPE?

He met fisherman on his way, where he discussed the issues prevailing with the fishermen community and how the governments have time and again failed to deliver on the promises made during elections after every five years, and how he’ll ensure that the needs of the community are no longer neglected as he plans to bring in the political change in Tamil Nadu. From there, Kamal Haasan visited the former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s house to take blessing from former President’s brother Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker as he idolizes the former President and claims to work towards the fulfilling former President’s dream of ‘Good Tamil Nadu’. Haasan mentioned how the former President lived in a modest house and still had so much national spirit in him, something that we all need to learn from the former President.

Left, Right or Center?

Kamal Haasan praised the Chief Minister of Delhi and Andhra Pradesh Arvind Kejriwal and Chandrababu Naidu respectively as he sees them as good CMs, an example for him to follow if he gets the mandate in the next elections. Kamal feels that his political ideology is similar to all the good CMs of the country, while criticizing the growing role of religion politics. Haasan’s decision to enter the politics received an overwhelming response from the gathering and all his followers who have been part of the journey since it kicked off in Rameswaram. He was overwhelmed with the support that poured in from various sections of media and political figures, as Kerala’s CM Pinarayi Vijayan who couldn’t attend the rally sent a video congratulating the actor on joining politics and how he sees this as an opportunity for better relation between Kerala and Tamil Nadu and benefit both the states in upholding the pillars of democracy.

Politics of Appeasement

Kamal Haasan aimed a dig at the recent RK Nagar By-elections that took place in the state, where voters were paid Rs. 6000 by the political parties to cast their votes. He refused to use such cheap tricks to lure voters instead Haasan plans to use the money for the betterment of the people and the state, and improve the standard of living within the state. Along with issues of corruption and poor governance, Kamal Haasan touched upon important issues concerning women security, Cauvery conflict, freebies distributed by the governments, and various other prevailing issues in the state and ensuring the audience that he will work to empower the people to improve their living conditions, giving space for equality to exist in the society rather than distributing freebies.

Can he pass the test of time?

It is for time to see whether or not he can establish his dominance in political battlefield similar to the stardom he enjoyed for over four decades playing various roles showcasing a range of emotions while stating that “I am not a cinema star anymore. I am the lamp of your house. Please protect me and keep me lit.” While claiming “this is not a one-day thing, it is going to be a way of life”, certainly these statements would have sent shock-waves across all the political parties of the six states where his party will be running in the upcoming elections. The whole country will be watching whether the veteran actor will be able to play the role of a just politician or will he join the “elite list” of actors who failed miserably and ended up in giving up the whole idea of politics.