Actor-cum-politician Rajinikanth announced on Tuesday, December 29, that he would not be participating in the forthcoming assembly elections. The Kollywood superstar in a long letter cited his health as the reason why he was not standing for election.
The actor was shooting for Director Siva’s next venture Annatthe in Hyderabad when a couple of the staff tested Covid positive. While the superstar had tested negative, he isolated himself and was under constant monitoring. The megastar was admitted at Apollo hospital in Hyderabad last Friday after his blood pressure showed severe fluctuations. He was discharged on Sunday. Doctors advised him to take complete bed rest for a week, maintain limited physical activity, avoid stress, and abstain from undertaking activities that would put him at risk of contracting Covid-19. The advisory was based on the superstar’s health history of being a post-transplant patient, having hypertension, and age.
In the letter announcing his decision to not step into politics, Rajinikanth said, “I see this health complication (hospitalisation) as a warning given to me by God.”
The actor began showing signs of political aspirations in 2017 when he urged fans to ‘prepare themselves for the war’ against a ‘rotten system’ in Tamil Nadu and New Delhi.
Rajinikanth’s tentative step towards the political arena occurred after the death of Jayalalithaa. With Jayalalithaa’s death and DMK chief Karunanidhi’s failing health, there was a glaring vacuum in Tamil Nadu politics. In 2019, he did not stand for the Lok Sabha polls, however. The question of whether the actor would make his foray into politics was finally answered when on December 3, 2020, he tweeted that he would launch his political party in January 2021, five months before the Tamil Nadu election. He also said that he would announce the details of his party on December 31, 2020.
In a statement released on Twitter then, he said, “Our party, with the support of people, will capture power and provide a corruption-free and transparent government that will be above caste, creed and religion.” He also tweeted, “We will change everything. Miracle and wonder will happen.” However, the actor did not clarify if he would contest the 2021 state elections.
Rajinikanth, better known as Thalaiva (leader) to millions of fans, is an enigma that can’t be decoded. Although he might lack the features of Greek Gods, his commanding screen presence, loud mannerisms, flamboyant swagger, and punch-filled dialogue have turned him into a superstar.
Born Shivaji Rao Gaekwad in an economically challenged Maratha family in Bengaluru, Rajinikanth has worked as a coolie and bus conductor while acting in Kannada plays. After joining an acting course, he entered the Kollywood film industry with K Balachander’s Apoorva Raagangal. Said to be the first Indian to enter the Rs 100 Crore Club after earning Rs 26 crore for his role Sivaji, he is known to be a box-office gale force.