Thalapathy Vijay In Politics – Vijay isn’t the initial, and he’s likely not the ultimate Tamil superstar to transition into politics. Five Chief Ministers from the state have been associated with the film industry. Let’s delve into this enduring tradition that spans decades.

With the introduction of his political party, Tamizhaga Vetri Kazhagam, earlier this week, ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay has joined the ranks of Tamil actors entering politics. In a statement, he declared that the party would participate in the 2026 Tamil Nadu State Assembly elections.

He stated, “For me, politics isn’t just another profession; it’s a sacred duty to the people… I aspire to fully engage in politics for public welfare after fulfilling my commitments to another film I’ve already committed to, without disrupting party affairs. This is my expression of gratitude and responsibility to the people of Tamil Nadu.”

Annadurai and the Role of Cinema in Propagation

Annadurai, Tamil Nadu’s inaugural Chief Minister from a Dravidian party, was affiliated with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). He pioneered the use of movies, a widely accessible medium, to advocate for the anti-caste, anti-religious ‘Self-respect Movement’ associated with the party. By scripting films like “Nallathambi” (1948) and “Vellaikaari” (1949), he offered critiques of Brahminism.

Annadurai’s cinematic influence stemmed from his theatrical background. In his essay, “Politics and Film in Tamil Nadu,” Robert L. Hardgrave Jr. notes, “As a young leader of the Dravida Kazhagam, Annadurai authored numerous plays aimed at social reform and non-Brahmin self-respect. Following the establishment of the DMK, Annadurai, along with E. V. K. Sampath and K. R. Ramaswamy, Tamil Nadu’s leading actor and film star at the time, staged plays in support of the party.”

Hardgrave also observes that the Dravidian movement’s Tamil language was “purged of Sanskritic elements” as an assertion of self-respect—a linguistic trend that persisted for decades. Through these films, the golden era of Tamil kingdoms, particularly the Cholas, was resurrected on the silver screen. Additionally, Brahmins were often portrayed as antagonists or foolish characters.

Karunanidhi Upholds the Tradition

Following Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi took the reins of the DMK and served as Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister. He penned the screenplay for “Parasakthi” (1952), featuring Sivaji Ganesan, a film deemed “one of the most controversial in Tamil cinema history” by S. Theodore Baskaran in “The Eye of the Serpent: An Introduction to Tamil Cinema” (1996).

A pivotal and provocative dialogue from the movie occurs when the protagonist questions the sanctity of a temple idol after witnessing an attempted rape by a priest. This sparked considerable outrage and led to initial bans on the film. In an interview, Karunanidhi expressed his aim to promote social reform, justice, and elevate the status of the Tamil language through his work, aligning with DMK principles.

Ganesan, the film’s lead and a DMK founding member, faced criticism for visiting the Tirupathi temple, seen as contradictory to rationalism, a key facet of Dravidian ideology. Despite leaving the DMK in 1956, joining other political parties, and even forming his own, he could not replicate his cinematic success in politics, ultimately retiring from the political arena in 1993.

MGR, Jayalalithaa, and the Legacy of AIADMK

M G Ramachandran (MGR) was not only a titan of Tamil cinema but also held the position of DMK party treasurer, leveraging his massive fan base to bolster the party’s electoral fortunes. Beyond the silver screen, MGR was involved in philanthropic endeavors such as funding orphanages and aiding in disaster relief efforts.

In his films, MGR portrayed himself as the champion of the common man, imbuing his roles with a strong sense of moral purpose. He once remarked, “My roles have been to show how a man should live and believe,” emphasizing the intertwining of art and politics. Following his expulsion from the DMK in 1972, MGR founded the All India Anna Munnetra Dravida Kazhagam (AIADMK) and utilized movies like “Netru Indru Naalai” (1974) and “Idhayakkani” (1975) as platforms to disseminate his party’s message. His political journey culminated in his ascent to the Chief Minister’s office in 1977, a position he held until his passing in 1987.

A power struggle ensued between MGR’s wife, V N Janaki Ramachandran, and his protege, J Jayalalithaa, a renowned actress who shared the screen with MGR in numerous influential films. Eventually, Jayalalithaa’s faction emerged as the dominant force within the AIADMK, propelling her to the Chief Minister’s office after securing a decisive victory in the 1991 State Assembly elections. Although Jayalalithaa did not actively leverage cinema for political ends, her association with MGR undoubtedly contributed to her popularity, as evidenced by their collaborations in films like “Aayirathil Oruvan” (1965) and “Nam Naadu” (1969).

Vijayakanth and Kamal Haasan: Transition from Silver Screen to Politics

In 2005, after a prolific career spanning nearly three decades in the film industry, ‘Captain’ Vijayakanth ventured into politics by establishing his party, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK). From the outset, Vijayakanth expressed his political aspirations, symbolically arriving at rallies in a blue van once used by MGR, earning him the moniker “Karuppu MGR” (Dark MGR). His on-screen portrayals of marginalized characters and philanthropic endeavors endeared him to the masses, solidifying his image as a ‘people’s leader.’ Despite only Vijayakanth winning a seat, DMDK secured an impressive 8% of the vote share in its inaugural Assembly election in 2006. In the subsequent 2011 Assembly elections, the party further solidified its position, clinching 29 out of 41 contested seats.

Following suit was actor-director Kamal Haasan, who launched his political outfit, Makkal Needhi Maiam, in 2018. Expressing a sense of responsibility towards his audience, Haasan stated, “You paid money to watch the films I acted in, and that became my salary. But what did I do in return?… That is why a feeling of guilt started (taking shape inside).” This introspection led him to the decision to dedicate himself to public service through politics. Despite high hopes, Makkal Needhi Maiam faced setbacks in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, failing to secure any of the 37 contested seats. Similarly, in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, the party suffered defeat across the board, with Kamal Haasan himself losing in the Coimbatore South constituency.

And now, the Entry of Thalapathy Vijay In Politics

‘Thalapathy’ Vijay, a term signifying ‘commander’ in Tamil, has hinted at his political aspirations for several years. References to MGR in some of his films, such as Atlee’s Mersal (2017), have drawn parallels between the two icons, highlighting their immense popularity and devoted fan bases.

Vijay has articulated that his party will prioritize transparency, non-partisan governance, and uphold the values of Tamil culture and the Indian Constitution. His carefully crafted words signal an intent to chart a unique course in the political sphere. “On one side, there is a culture of politics tainted with corruption and administrative malpractices, while on the other, there is a divisive political culture striving to fragment our people through caste and religious differences,” his letter conveyed.

Notably, members of his fan club, the Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (TVMI), have previously experienced electoral success. In 2021, TVMI members secured over 100 seats in rural local body polls across the state, showcasing their burgeoning influence in grassroots politics.