Taking a dig at his friend and co-actor Kamal Haasan, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth on Sunday said "one needs something more than a celebrity status" to succeed in politics. To make his point, Rajini cited the example of Sivaji Ganesan's failure in politics although he was a superstar himself.
Till date, Rajinikanth has kept his political cards close to his chest. It is yet to be ascertained whether he would take the political plunge. Speaking at the opening of late actor Sivaji Ganesan's memorial on the banks of Adyar, Rajini said this as Kamal Haasan shared the dias with him. Rajinikanth said, "A legend of our times, Sivaji Ganesan has left us a lesson not just in cinema but also in politics. He launched his own political party and lost elections, including from his own seat. This was not an insult to him, but the people of that constituency. So, the message is that fame and clout (earned in cinema) is not enough to succeed in politics. There should be something beyond that."
He further added, "I don’t know what it is. But I think Kamal Haasan would know and even if he knows the secret, he would not tell me. Maybe he would have told me if I had asked him two months back. When I say you (Haasan) are senior to me in cinema, and are like an elder brother and ask him to share that with me, he says come with me and I will tell."
Having said that, political observers see Rajinikanth's comments as an answer to Kamal Haasan's jibe at him at the 75th anniversary celebrations of DMK mouthpiece “Murasoli’ in August. At that event, Kamal Haasan had said, " self-respect is more important than self-protection”, as an indirect jibe at Rajinikanth who did not share the dais with DMK leaders and senior journalists but instead sat in the audience.
Kamal Haasan, on the other hand, restricted himself to singing the praise of Sivaji Ganesan and termed him as an actor who transcended the state, national and continental boundaries. He said, "If I had not been in cinema, I would have been a fan and even if I was not allowed entry here, I would have been waiting (outside). None could have stopped me."
Sivaji Ganesan is one of the legends of Tamil cinema who tried his luck in politics in the 1980s. Unfortunately, his cine fame did not help him win the Assembly elections that year and he lost from his own seat.