Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vikram’ is a runaway success. It comes a year after the drubbing his political outfit Makkal Neethi Maiyyam received in the elections to the state assembly.
Will the hit impact his political fortunes? Not really, say experts. Srinivasan K Swamy, CMD, RK Swamy Hansa Group, explains with an example.
He notes, “One movie will not determine if Kamal will be more acceptable politically. The most successful movie star Chiranjeevi could not meet success. Rajnikanth did not want to jump into the political fray despite showing his keenness. To succeed you need strong organisational support, deep pockets to keep investing in marketing, many leaders who can win on their own strengths in their constituencies, and above all there must be a political vacuum that a new outfit can fulfill or a political situation that one can exploit.”
Journalist Shabbir Ahmed points to the difference between Kamal Haasan’s appeal as an actor and as a politician.
Ahmed adds, “People regardless of their political affiliation and choices would love to watch Kamal Haasan perform. Honestly, it’s a delight to watch him perform on the silver screen. People can like or dislike Kamal Haasan for various reasons but they cannot ignore him. He has been an integral part of the Indian film industry and a legend too. Even after so many years, Kamal Hassan is still the brightest star in the Indian film industry.”
“I can’t say the same when it comes to politics. The days are gone when people would get swayed by actors performing on screen and voting for them. In politics people would expect consistency and visibility on ground. Kamal Hassan’s party has a lot of media visibility because of the star value attached to it. The party has to grow on ground and politics is not part-time work. The film may have become a mega blockbuster hit, but Kamal’s politics is yet to capture the attention of the people,” he underlines.
Rajeev Balakrishnan, CEO, Image Advantage Consultants concurs that the success of Vikram will have no bearing on the star’s political career.
“Two reasons for that. One the film does not have a political overtone so it’s difficult to connect that image with the tinsel screen one. Secondly politics is TN, while having had screen heroes becoming CMs, has moved on to a populism-driven one. The era of MGR and Jayalalitha has been consigned to history. Unless he has strong alliances politically it will be difficult for him to increase his vote share,” he notes.
Looking back at the 2021 elections, Swamy reflects, “Kamal could have met with success if he had stood as an independent candidate and focused all his energy in that constituency. Perhaps it is time he decided to do that and at least enters the legislative assembly by himself in 2026. But then at 72, time will tell if he will be effective at all,” he signs off.
For now, the verdict seems to be that audiences are looking forward to Kamal Haasan’s next release Indian 2, not MNM 2.0.
(With inputs from Neethu Mohan and Umanath V.)