December 31, 2017 would be remembered as the day Superstar Rajinikanth chose to announce his entry into politics. It was a decision that was long-awaited, quite literally. Until today, there is a standing joke that rumours of Rajini starting a political party crop up everytime his new film is ready for release and the buzz notoriously dies down after the movie hits the big screens.
The trend started after the year 1996 — Rajinkanth had publicly supported the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham – Tamil Manila Congress and famously gone to comment that even God would not be able to save Tamil Nadu if J. Jayalalithaa was voted back to power in 1996. It is said that Rajinikanth was the major reason for DMK-TMC alliance sweeping the polls. Rajini’s cycle from ‘Annamalai’ was used as a political tool by the TMC for campaign. Stories also say that he was offered the Chief Ministerial post by TMC’s Moopanar. Since then the ‘Thalaivar’ has had various trysts with politics.
Rumours again floated before the release of his Baba in 2002. At the peak of the speculation, the actor was expected to make his stand clear before the film opened. Rajini remained ambivalent and that is also said to be the reason behind the epic failure of the film at the box office.
However, the trend followed, some examples being Enthiran, Lingaa and Kabali. Rajini chose to remain vague and had different versions of the same stance – “I will take the path God wants me. If he wishes me to serve the people, I will”. However, it did not stop the actor from speaking on political issues. He observed a day’s fast during the Cauvery struggle. His relations with AIADMK improved and was seen indirectly rooting for the AIADMK-BJP alliance. But he has stayed from making any direct commitment of stepping into the political foray.
Even in his announcement, Rajini has observed that his decision was based on the present circumstances. “Something which I did not have at the age of 45 cannot be there at 68. But here, the democracy is at high risk. Whatever happened in the last one year in Tamil Nadu has put everyone mute in their shame. If I don’t take a decision at this moment, there is no more change,” he said to thunderous applause from fans at the Raghavendra Kalyana Mandapam today. He has again invoked the name of God, giving us a new term ‘spiritual politics’. He has promised to contest the state elections in 2019, by which both his current projects would have released. It is like how he says in his film Muthu, “Naa epdi varuven, epo varuven nu yarukum theriyathu. Aana varavendiya nerathuku correct a varuven. (Nobody knows when or how I’ll arrive, but I will be there at the right moment.)” Maybe, the time has finally come.