Sarkar offers a handy 'how to be a politician' guide; here are five lessons from Vijay's latest

Vignesh Raja

November 12, 2018 12:14:11 IST

Every year, Diwali brings with it, two inescapable things: terrible air quality, and a Vijay film. I’m on the fence about what was more suffocating this Diwali — the air, or Vijay’s Sarkar.

Sarkar was touted as the ‘biggest blockbuster for 2018’, and was marketed accordingly: Promo song with unintelligible lyrics and catchy tune — check; plagiarism row — check; threats from a political party in Tamil Nadu to censor the film — check; The will-he-won’t-he cliffhanger of Vijay’s real life political ambitions — all present and correct.

Despite all it had going for it, Sarkar turned out to be a mediocre film. The one aspect in which it did stand out? It serves as an excellent tutorial on ‘how to become a politician in India’.

Vijay in Sarkar

Vijay in Sarkar

Lesson 1: Ignorance is bliss

As we learn by watching Vijay’s character in Sarkar, you can be a hyper-patriotic NRI but must have no clue about grassroots problems in India, to make a success of your political career.
This leads us to…

Lesson 2: When in doubt, gaslight your way out

Ignorance of your constituency’s concerns could trip up even the suavest of aspiring politcos. How then, do you navigate these troubled waters?

The first step — deflect.

When asked for basic information, launch into a long-winded story that’s completely unrelated to the matter at hand.

The second step — create an enemy.

When Vijay’s character is quizzed about the high price of tomatoes by the aam janta in Sarkar, he immediately senses the hand of an international ketchup mafia behind this. When faced with a problem he cannot solve, the sauciest, savviest politician comes up with a conspiracy theory so huge and unbelievable that it makes his/her voters doubt their own truth.

And the third step — spin a sob story so sorry, you’ll cadge the sympathy vote.

Like Vijay chooses to talk about how his fisherman father was shot by the neighbouring country’s army. By the time he finishes this sorrowful tale, the populace has entirely forgotten what it was that they’d wanted an answer to in the first place.

Lesson 3: Be keyword conscious

This is especially useful when faced with questions like ‘What is your policy stance on <insert burning issue: the Sterlite protest, Cauvery water sharing dispute, illegal sand mining etc>?’
First, summon up all the emotion you can. Then, launch into an answer that uses any or all of these words with satisfying frequency: farmers, fishermen, Jallikattu, youth, Marina, NEET. If these do not work, go for the final word: Tamil Pride. The power of these keywords to provoke high emotion to the exclusion of facts, logic and common sense is absolutely unmatched, you’ll see.

Lesson 4: Micro-managers are the best managers

In Sarkar, Vijay’s character lawyers his way through a court case, releases a journalist’s work, solves a murder case, hijacks a press conference, creates a fake Twitter account to swing the votes, and when all else fails, he uses the Opposition leader’s mother to help his cause.

Within his party too, he’s a one-man army. From vetting press releases to candidates, and even choosing who gets to be chief minister — there’s nothing the budding politician can’t handle.

Lesson 5: Don’t be like the Opposition

The actors who play the members of the Opposition in Sarkar teach us what to do by not doing. For instance, they do not slander their opponents, or use the hero’s NRI status against him. They do not raid the homes of the hero and his family members. They don’t bring up his nationality, or his relationship status. They don’t cook up a fake international conspiracy to destabilise the Tamil Nadu government, or posit that it is controlled by an invisible enemy. They even prefer to keep their money within the country in neat little containers than route it through a shell company in Panama! How positively dull.

Sarkar’s many timely lessons on politics make Chanakya Neeti and Sun Tzu’s Art of War seem outmoded. They don't call Vijay 'Thalapathy' for nothing!

Updated Date: Nov 13, 2018 21:26 PM