The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) headquarters recently appealed to its cadres not to felicitate their leader Vaiko with shawls but instead provide funds to the party. Any cadre who wishes to take a selfie/picture with Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko now has to pay Rs 100 as a donation.
On Wednesday, on the way to a meeting at Krishnagiri, Vaiko alongside MDMK secretaries pit stopped at Ambur in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. As soon as Vaiko stepped out of his car, the enthusiastic cadres approached him one by one either to click a selfie or a picture. The MDMK leader, who is often regarded as short-tempered in political circles, obliged for a picture with party members but only after collecting Rs 100. One such cadre who approached the leader to click a picture was shooed away since he didn’t pay the donation. The video of Vaiko asking the cadre for money to click a picture with him has gone viral on social media.
This might be an interesting way to ward off selfies from followers and fans, but the selfie craze has become a headache for celebs in Tamil Nadu, with fans becoming violent and uncontrollable when a selfie is denied with the star.
In 2018, there was a huge uproar in the state when veteran Tamil actor Sivakumar (father of noted Tamil actor Suriya) angrily smashed a fan’s cell phone at a shop inauguration function when the fan tried to take a selfie with the actor without his approval. After receiving flak for his impulsive reaction, Sivakumar released a video apologizing for his actions. “A popular artist should accept this kind of behaviour. As the majority of people felt that what I did was wrong, I sincerely apologise for my actions, I am very sorry,” he said. He even gifted the selfie-crazy youngster a new mobile phone.
But within a few months later, the man who hates taking selfies was again in the headlines for tapping away a fan’s cell phone at a wedding event. The video went viral and paved way for the #SelfieKillerSivakumar hashtag on Twitter.
Actor Karthi, another son of Sivakumar commented that selfie craze has become uncontrollable. “The act of taking selfies has become disrespectful now. Mobile cameras have heavy flashes now which might affect a person with a migraine. It is saddening to know that we have come to this level of not asking permission before taking a picture with someone,” he said.
A similar incident happened with DMK leader MK Stalin near Coimbatore. In 2015, when an auto driver tried to click a picture Stalin, he was manhandled and pushed around by DMK cadres. The incident created a furor in the state at that time and to make amends, Stalin invited the driver himself and posed for a picture.
During the funeral of J Jayalalithaa, Karunas, an AIADMK supported independent MLA was mired in a controversy when he was allegedly caught smiling in a selfie with a fan. MLA Karunas had to clarify that the selfie was taken not during the exact time of the funeral but a bit later when all the ceremonies were completed. He took efforts to clarify that the particular gentleman in the selfie was following him from the morning and he had to accept his persistent requests for a selfie after warding off his requests for more than a dozen times.
But the selfie craze does not seem to die out, and when rebuffed, the question remains: “It is just a selfie, what is your problem?”