Indian superstar Rajinikanth has finally announced that he will step into politics, after years of speculation. The 67-year-old, who has acted in over 150 movies and is one of the highest paid actors in Asia, said in Chennai yesterday that he will “form my own political party” and contest all 234 seats at the next Indian state assembly election.
Rajinikanth’s step into politics comes at a time where politics in the state of Tamil Nadu has been unstable following the death of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram last year that left behind a political vacuum and split the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.
Rajinikanth, who has predominantly worked in Tamil cinema, said that it is his “duty to change the system” in the state of Tamil Nadu and added:
“If I don’t take this decision now, the guilt will haunt me.
“I am not doing it for any post or money or fame as I have enough.”
Rajinikanth’s announcement yesterday follows his message to his fans earlier this year, in May, that they should be “ready for war” to take on the “corrupt” political system and a “rotten” democracy at the right time. He promised at the time:
“If God wills, I will enter politics tomorrow. If I do, I will be truthful and will not entertain the corrupt people.”
If the pan-Indian icon is elected into office, he will join a line of famous movie stars who have dominated politics in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The late Jayalalithaa herself was a famous actress who rose to political prominence following the demise of her predecessor, mega movie star M.G.Ramachandran under whom the state enjoyed a golden era.
Rajinikanth’s announcement also coincides with his peer Kamal Haasan’s public hints that he will join politics, as well. Renowned film personality Hassan has been a vocal critic of the government and an announcement on his entry into the political realm is highly anticipated.
Interestingly, Rajinikanth has said in the past that his favourite politician is Singapore’s very own elder statesman Lee Kuan Yew.
In the clip below, Rajinikanth is interviewed by famed director K. Balachander – coincidentally the director who introduced him into films – and reveals that his favourite “superstar” in the realm of politics is Lee Kuan Yew.
When Lee Kuan Yew passed away, Rajinikanth tweeted:
“Indeed a dark day as a leader I admired has passed on. I feel your sorrow S’pore. A true loss of a path-breaking politician. #RIPLeeKuanYew.”