In January, parallels were drawn between veteran actors Kamal Haasan's and Upendra's critically acclaimed films Vishwaroopam and Swasthik respectively: The larger-than-life hero figures fought terrorists, with the underlying theme of patriotism. Now, as the two popular actors are all set to walk the well-trodden path of politics, their journeys have uncanny similarities.
Both actors have not only entered the realm of politics after extremely successful film careers, but they do so with the same promise: Making a difference. Both Kamal and Upendra have almost reverential fan bases in their states—Tamil Nadu and Karnataka—and both getting into politics could be perceived as symbols of the people being disenchanted with mainstream politics.
Upendra, for his superhero-like roles, is popularly known as "Real Star" while Kamal's fans call him "Ulaga Nayagan" or "Hero of the World".
However, as Kamal seems to dilly-dally, Upendra has already announced his new party: Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha, as reported in The Hindu.
Kamal, seemingly upset by the state of affairs in Tamil Nadu politics after the split in ruling AIADMK, had in June, dropped the first hint of taking the political dive through a poetic tweet.
புரியாதோர்க்கு ஆங்கில பத்திரிக்கைகளில் நாளை வரும் சேதி pic.twitter.com/yoFMD8jeJO
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) July 18, 2017
The tweet meant: "Let us criticise as nobody now is the king. We will stand up as we are not a king like you. Defeated and dead then militant. If I decide, I am chief minister. Those who bow are they slaves? Those who give up crown are they losers? It is wrong to chase them as fools. The paths which are not searched will not be seen. Come with me friend, one who attempts to avoid fanaticism/superstition is a leader (sic)."
Upendra announced his entry into politics in August, almost a month after Kamal.
"I am entering the field of politics to bring about a change in the system of governance, serve the people and improve their quality of life," Upendra had said.
Kamal also spoke about the burden of religion while speaking about the resistance against social equality. According to him, the older generation upper caste people who get jittery on seeing equality in society were now trying to impose Sanathana Dharma on the youth by coating it with honey.
Upendra talked about a transparent political system.
"....giving a complete transparent alternative is my idea. With this intention we plan to launch a party," he had said adding that transparency will be maintained at all levels, even while selecting candidates, The Economic Times reported.
Kamal also remarked on the political corruption and batted for transparency and accountability in politics. The actor added that his party will never give chances to people with dubious antecedents.
Upendra first tried to crowdsource suggestions for the nature and scope of his political outfit, before going ahead and announcing a political party. And on Tuesday, Kamal took the same route, launching an app "Maiyyal Whistle", which he dubbed an "e-vigil" tool for the common man to fight corruption and bureaucratic inefficiency.
Upendra asked people to share their ideas for his new party through a newly created e-mail id or through letters.
Karnataka has elected actors before – former actor Umashri is a cabinet minister, while 'Rebel Star' Ambarish has been a minister in the Congress before — and so has Tamil Nadu. In fact, many attributed Kamal's increased activity in politics to the political vacuum created by the death of Jayalalithaa, another success story of an actor-turned-politician. His irritation over the 'status quo' was seemingly over the infighting amid the ruling AIADMK for the appropriation of the late leader's legacy and the power that would have come with it.
Upendra's frequent social media posts and media interviews too have hinted at a visible lethargy settling in, over how things worked. "Sadly, politics in our country relies on mass hysteria, caste, religion, money, fame and popularity to survive or thrive. This needs to be changed. Using technology, we can reach the people through television, internet, mobile and social media and connect with them for feedback on what they would like a party like ours to do for them," he had said.
However, as the two actors take the political plunge, it is almost unavoidable that their superstar persona will eventually catch up with their image as a politician. The Utopian superheroes they had played onscreen may overshadow their persona as politicians. It would then be a task for them to state out what different cuisine do they have to offer when the political corridors in both states are full of alphabet soup political alternatives.
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Updated Date: Nov 07, 2017 18:23:10 IST