“Is actor Vijay set to make a political entry?”, a question many have been asking, again, amidst conflicting information and no clear answer from the Kollywood star himself. Last week, the Times of India quoted sources within the fan association—Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam—saying that fans had permission from the actor to campaign using his name and photos in the upcoming local body polls to be held in nine newly reconstituted districts. Chengalpattu, Kallakurichi, Ranipet, Villupuram, Vellore, Kancheepuram, Tenkasi, Tirunelveli, and Tirupathy districts will vote in panchayat elections on October 6 and 9. Though sources in the fan association did confirm the same to TNM, a few others have vehemently denied this.
Yet, contrary to this, when TNM spoke to sources in Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam, they insisted that Vijay himself had given permission for nominees contesting the by polls to use his photos, name and the fan association’s flag while campaigning. Two pictures given by one member of the iyakkam shows Bussy Anand, general secretary of Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam campaigning for a candidate and others around holding pictures and posters with Vijay's pictures.
Earlier today, a report by Puthiya Thalaimurai carried photos of some candidates campaigning in this manner. The report says that the candidates are affiliated with now dissolved VMI, though, which makes this entire situation all the more confusing.
The Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam is considered the “official” fan association, not to be confused with the recently dissolved Vijay Makkal Iyakkam (VMI)—a registered society founded by film director and father of Vijay, SA Chandrasekar. From the point of the announcement by Chandrasekar regarding VMI last year, Vijay has distanced himself the outfit, publicly discouraging fans to have any association with it. In September this year, the actor filed a civil suit against Chandrasekar and mother Shoba Sekar, seeking to restrain VMI from using his images and name for meetings. This finally led to the dissolution of the said organization on September 27. On the evening of announcing the dissolution of VMI, SA Chandrasekar had told TNM, “I have decided I want to have no more part in politics or the iyakkam or in any political activity in these late years of my life. That’s all, it’s very simple.”
Last week, with nominations to the local body polls being finalised, photos of posters in several districts surfaced on social media featuring Vijay alongside Dravidian leaders such as Periyar and former chief ministers from Anna Durai to J Jayalalithaa to current CM MK Stalin. As speculation spread, well-known celebrity PR person Riaz Ahmed released a statement on behalf of Bussy Anand. The statement strongly chastised the individuals who had put up such posters, attributing them to VMI members. Interestingly, the statement, which was deleted soon after, came out on the same day that VMI was dissolved.
It appears that neither VMI when it existed nor the Thalapathy Vijay Makkal Iyakkam have been registered with the ECI. And anyway in local body elections, candidates contest in individual capacities. In the meantime, Vijay himself remains busy with the shooting for his upcoming Beast. It was also announced last week that the yet to be titled Thalapathy66, which it would seem is a bilungal film, will be directed by Vamshi Paidipally and produced by Dil Raju.
Vijay for now seems to be following in Rajinikanth's footsteps where he ensures no one clearly knows what's happening behind the scenes.