In a tweet, Tamil megastar Rajinikanth hinted at the “emergence of spiritual politics” in Tamil Nadu’s legislative elections planned for January.

Bollywood actor Rajinikanth in Mumbai on December 16, 2019.
Bollywood actor Rajinikanth in Mumbai on December 16, 2019. (AFP)

Indian movie superstar Rajinikanth is planning to launch his own political party in southern India in January, ending years of speculation by millions of his fans on his political future.

He tweeted on Thursday that he is starting a party and will make an announcement on December 31, apparently in relation to legislative elections in Tamil Nadu state expected around June next year. He started taking an active part in politics in 2017.

Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in December 1950, Rajinikanth is one of India’s most popular stars, with more than 175 films since 1975, mostly in the Tamil and Telugu languages.

His fan deify him, making his transition to politics only natural. Rajinikanth is seen as a champion of the people – his movies often deal with classism and always fighting for the underdog.

“In the upcoming Assembly elections, the emergence of spiritual politics will happen for sure. A wonder will happen,” he tweeted. An announcement on matters connected to the party's launch will be made December 31, he said.

His political prospects appear bright following a vacuum created by the deaths of Jayaram Jayalalithaa, an actor-turned politician with the governing party in the state, and Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the leader of the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party.

Indian fans spray milk on a placard of Bollywood star Rajinikanth before the early morning show of his Tamil-language film
Indian fans spray milk on a placard of Bollywood star Rajinikanth before the early morning show of his Tamil-language film "2.0" on the first day of its release in Mumbai on November 29, 2018. (Punit Paranjpe / AFP)

From Kollywood to politics

Cinema has always influenced Tamil politics by turning actors into popular politicians.

CN Annadurai and M Karunanidhi were scriptwriters who went on to become chief ministers. MG Ramachandran, a top actor-turned-politician, also had a strong following.

Rajinikanth worked as a bus conductor for three years before joining an acting school. He started in small roles as a villain in Tamil cinema and worked his way up, landing roles in Bollywood, the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai.

Rajinikanth was the highest paid Tamil actor until as recently as January when his $12.2 million was overshadowed by other stars who signed movies for $13.5 million.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan also tried his hand in politics as a member of India’s Parliament, representing the Congress party in support of his friend, then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the 1980s.

He resigned after three years following allegations that he accepted bribes in the purchase of artillery guns. His name was later cleared in the scandal.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies