Kamal Haasan embraces controversy in run-up to elections in Tamil Nadu

07 July 2018, 07:49 PM
Kamal Haasan embraces controversy in run-up to elections in Tamil Nadu
Kamal Haasan embraces controversy in run-up to elections in Tamil Nadu

Tamil actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has become controversy’s favourite child as he wades into one row after another with his utterances or actions, ahead of the elections in the state.

If his comments on sacred thread angered the Brahmin community, to which he belongs, Haasan’s participation in a TV reality show Bigg Boss on private channel Vijay TV has a pro-Hindu activist group rising up in protest against the superstar.

Activists of Hindu Makkal Katchi demand his arrest for participating in a show that was seen as destroying Tamil culture. Officials of the fringe Hindu group are quoted as saying that the reality show Bigg Boss was showing what was happening within the four walls of a house and was indecent to say the least. In fact, one of the recent episodes had shown a young girl and a boy walking hand in hand inside the Bigg Boss house, which was promptly dubbed indecent and improper to show on live television broadcast.

Kamal Haasan has been the target of ire of the pro-Hindu groups

Activists have filed a case against Haasan and participants in the show, alleging that the show was an assault on Tamil culture and that it denigrated the ancient culture. The fringe group activists have a problem with the contestants’ “offensive and abusive language, dress up in a vulgar manner and indulge in activities that were anti-Tamil and anti-Hindu.”

The actor and those close to him ignore these rantings as they carry on with the business on hand, that is shooting further episodes of the show and political activity as if nothing happened. If not anything, Haasan could not have bought a better marketing campaign for his TV reality show than the protests held by the HMM.

If not anything, the protests have added to the curiosity value to an even otherwise popular show and the TV company is not complaining with rising TRPs. Last year too, the same Hindu outfit had lodged similar complaints against the show and the actor in question.

Incidentally, Haasan has been the target of ire of the pro-Hindu groups and even the BJP which has never welcome the actor’s entry into politics in the same manner in which it has done Rajinikanth.

Haasan, a contemporary and competitor to Rajinikanth in film as also now in politics, was a surprise entrant into politics. He had never dabbled in politics and had steered clear of making any political comment of any kind all these years, but Rajinikanth had flirted with politics and politicians now and then.

Haasan’s flippant comments seem designed to get himself dragged into some controversy

Now, whether Haasan does it by design or gets drawn into controversies, his recent spats have given him a chance to be in the public eye unlike Rajinikanth, who more or less stays behind closed doors in comparison.

Haasan’s flippant comments seem designed to get himself dragged into some controversy or the other so that the spotlight is on him. He also seems to be gaining ground in Tamil Nadu because of the vehement opposition to him from the pro-Hindu outfits, that are seemingly running a campaign against him.

For one, Haasan has positioned himself cleverly in Tamil Nadu politics. After making his political ideology clear with “Saffron is not my colour” statement, Haasan recently went to Delhi and met AICC president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to reinforce his secular credentials.
One thing becoming clear in Tamil Nadu is that the BJP has been on the losing side when it comes to public perception and anyone associated with the ruling party at the Centre could be seen with suspicion in the state.

Haasan’s comments on corruption, targeting the state government were no less controversial but they made him the darling of the urban unemployed who see in him as a ray of hope.

Endorsement for Haasan politically came from a smaller regional player like the Pattali Makkal Katchi, a casteist party representing Vanniyars dominant in North Tamil Nadu. Its senior leader and former union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss publicly stated that Haasan was a better choice as a politician when compared with Rajinikanth.

First Published: Friday, July 06, 2018 06:02 PM
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