27 July, 2021

The Rooster Needs A Calling

Sivaji Ganesan too started a political outfit in Tamil Nadu. Why did he fail where MGR scored?

The Rooster Needs A Calling
When artistes from the screen and stage courted arrest during the days of the freedom struggle in the Madras Presidency, picketing toddy shops and burning foreign textiles, they set in motion a process of interaction between the entertainment media and politics that persists to this day. The best known of that generation, singing star K.B. Sundarambal, was the first film actor in the country to enter a legislature, as a Congress candidate in 1958.

In the post-independent decades, two filmstars dominated the scene in Tamil Nadu and both started their own parties, but at different times. In the wake of the split with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, M.G. Ramachandran launched his Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in 1972, and Sivaji Ganesan, after being marginalised in the Congress, founded his Thamizhaga Munnetra Ani in 1988. While MGR's party is still ruling the state, Sivaji's unit has all but vanished from public memory. The only time Sivaji contested the elections—for the state legislature, from Tiruvaiyaru—he lost miserably, along with the other 50 candidates the party put...

More from S.Theodore Baskaran

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section