07 March, 2021

Alms And The Superman

The Tamil film Sarkar stirred uproar and ­protest. It’s only the latest of actor Vijay’s political forays.

My Turn?
Vijay in a still from Sarkar
Alms And The Superman

There is a sense of balance to politics in Tamil Nadu, which boasts as many film stars­-turned-politicians as it does government freebies. The balance goes haywire only when a film hero decides to denigrate the state’s largesse on screen merely to garner more applause from his fans. The moment he becomes a ‘thalaivar’ (leader), the same freebies will be at the top of his manifesto—and the balance will be restored.

So, it was easy for actor Vijay, 44—und­oubtedly the number one Tamil hero box office-wise—to characterise the free household gadgets given to poor voters as bribes for their votes, and even as alms thrown at them, in his latest hit film Sarkar. To add insult to this injury, the director, A.R. Murugadoss, is fleetingly shown dumping the free mixers and table fans given out by the Jayalalitha government into a bonfire as a rejection of populism.

No wonder the ruling AIADMK was incensed by this assault on Jayalalitha’s successful outreach, which helped get her elected in both 2011 and 2016. As...

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