It's widely known how in Tamil Nadu star power can swing the voters during election time. Politics and cinema have been hand in hand from the time of the legendary MGR. In fact, Tamil Nadu has been ruled by film-stars and persons connected with the Tamil film industry since the late 1960s. So far, Tamil films have given five chief ministers to the state.
So it was but natural for the Election Commission of India and Chief Electoral Officer for Tamil Nadu assembly elections Rajesh Lakhoni to take the help of movie stars for campaigning purposes. The elections for Tamil Nadu state assembly is due on May 16 and EC wanted the electorate to come and vote and also highlight free and fair elections.
In an exclusive interview to First Post Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said, “Movie stars and sports personalities have huge reach in Tamil Nadu. We decided to attract young voters on social media, by using memes and tweets themed around films and create awareness about casting one’s votes. The idea is first register as a voter and then come and vote."
"Towards the final stages of the election campaign, we will ask the voters through celebrity videos – Don’t sell your votes. The awareness videos are on social media platforms and on FM channels. We had an issue regarding television as most of them are owned by political parties. The short videos of actor Surya’s dubmash and cricketer Ashwin, have already gone viral. ”
Popular actor Suriya's did a Dubsmash video; the dialogue he chose to lip-sync were from superstar Rajinikanth’s Muthu (1995). Surya urged the young voters to exercise their right to vote and raise their voices for the right reasons.
My first dub smash! 😎 pic.twitter.com/rakJt6cfoo
— Suriya Sivakumar (@Suriya_offl) March 3, 2016
Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the most outspoken cricketers in the Indian team, during press conferences or even on Twitter. The Ashwin video begins with a provocative question – He promises an answer to the burning issue of Dhoni or Virat, after Virat Kohli has taken over as the test captain. Ashwin asked cricket fans not to worry about such issues, as the selectors are doing their job. Instead he asked them to worry if their names are on the electoral list for Tamil Nadu elections 2016.
— TN Elections CEO (@TNelectionsCEO) February 25, 2016
Lakhoni has roped in an agency which specialises in making awareness videos on social media. This has helped as certain popular punchlines from Tamil cinema are being used in these awareness videos. These awareness videos feature actors Surya, Karthi and popular cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, Dinesh Karthik and his wife squash champion Dipika Pallikal have also put out a video with a message.
— TN Elections CEO (@TNelectionsCEO) March 2, 2016
The others who have agreed to do the 30 second video are actors Siddharth, Arya, Jiiva, RJ Balaji, Samantha, Shruthi Haasan and former cricketer and selector Krishnamachari Srikanth.