Monday, November 29, 1999

TN politics, filmdom inseparable entities

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Chennai, May 16 (PTI) Actress Khushboo joining the DMK highlights the inseparable bond of politics and filmdom in Tamil Nadu which has had actors and playwrights going on to become Chief Minister. With her taking the plunge into politics on Friday, the 39-year-old actress has joined a list of celebrities who made use of their silver-screen charm and popularity to garner votes, with veteran actor SS Rajendran first stepping into Tamil Nadu Assembly on a DMK ticket in 1957. The State is known for its history of actors and cinema professionals joining politics. Late MG Ramachandaran (MGR), his wife Janaki, both actors, his protege Jayalalithaa, a popular actress in the late sixties and seventies, and present incumbent M Karunanidhi, a playwright, have occupied the Chief Minister''s chair. DMK founder CN Annadurai, also a playwright, was DMK''s first Chief Minister in 1967. After his death in 1969, Karunanidhi first took over the reins of the state. Karunanidhi''s razor-sharp script against social evils and the dialogues mouthed by ''Sivaji'' Ganesan in the 1950s "Parasakthi" catapulted him to fame, prompting the actor later to take the plunge into politics, serving different parties at different times, including Congress. Karunanidhi, 86, has held the Chief Minister''s post for 19 years in different terms. After his early days as an important member of the DMK, Tamil icon MGR later launched his own AIADMK, banking on his popularity that never let him down. Jayalalithaa, who also paired against him in a number of films, has been Chief Minister twice. MGR''s contemporaries-- Rajendran, Ganesan and Padmini were also in active politics at some point of their life. The next generation of actors were no exception. While Rajnikant openly supported the DMK-TMC (Tamil Maanila Congress) in the 1996 elections which was instrumental in the alliance''s massive win against AIADMK, his peer Kamal Haasan had no qualms publicising his left-leaning policies. Khushboo''s entry into politics was in the air for some time as it was widely speculated that she could join the Congress. Her entry into DMK is seen as an effort by the party to boost its star campaigners team, ahead of Assembly elections next year with opposition AIADMK banking heavily on their charismatic party leader Jayalalithaa to come back to power. (MORE) PTI SA BN MVV.

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