A friend of actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth, on Saturday, conveyed to DMK President MK Stalin Rajinikanth's disappointment about a satirical article on DMK mouthpiece Murasoli.
The satirical piece titled, ‘He is the black sheep meh meh meh', a reference to a line from the actor's film Enthiran, said that Rajinikanth was disrespecting the hard work put in by his fans over the years and called him a puppet of saffron forces. Rajinikanth conveyed to the DMK leader that he was disturbed that the Dravidian party’s mouthpiece had decided to target him without reason. Though sources in the Stalin camp said that Rajinikanth had spoken directly to Stalin, a source from Rajinikanth camp said that it was a mutual friend who had spoken to Stalin.
The source said that though Stalin does take decisions on Murasoli editorial, he had been travelling on that day, and a senior editorial resource had taken the call to publish the article.
The Murasoli, on Sunday, published a boxed ‘Instruction to the editorial team’. The instructions from Murasoli editor S Selvam said that it has been noticed that the article about Rajinikanth had hurt a ‘few good hearts’.
“It has been brought to our notice that an article published in Murasoli about Superstar Rajinikanth has hurt a few good hearts. The Editorial team has been advised to exercise caution in publishing such articles in future,” read Selvam’s statement. There was no explanation on who was hurt or why, and the paper did not issue a formal regret.
A source close to Rajinikanth told TNM that the actor had been unhappy at the aggressive stand taken by Murasoli, even though Rajinikanth himself had never targeted the DMK or Karunanidhi's family incessantly. "He even attended the 75th anniversary celebrations of Murasoli and spoke up for Kalaignar when the AIADMK refused place at Marina beach to cremate his body. What was hurtful is that the article struck at the core of Rajini sir's politics, his fans," the source said.
The fodder for Murasoli’s satire, was a statement by Rajinikanth on October 23, in which he categorically stated that he would not encourage people who join his political party with an aim to get party posts or earn money.
The satirical article is an imagined conversation between the actor and a simpleton fan of his, in light of the actor's recent statement that had ruffled feathers within the party.
“Spending 30-40 years in my fans club will not make one qualified to get a party post in Makkal Mandram or to enter politics,” Rajinikanth’s statement had said. This particular line was responded to in the Murasoli article, which asked, "If working as a fan club member for 30-40 years is not an eligibility for entering politics, how is being an actor for the last 40 years an eligibility criteria?"
Quoting an oft-repeated statement of the actor during his political speeches telling his fans to take care of their families first before indulging in party activities which was also a part of the statement issued on October 23, the 'fan' criticised Rajinikanth for not practising what he preaches. "Why don't you take care of your family instead of entering politics?" the imaginary fan asked.
Calling him a puppet in the hands of saffron forces, the DMK mouthpiece pitted Rajinikanth as being opposed to Dravidian ideals.
Following the publication of the Murasoli article, supporters of the actor and the DMK indulged in a bitter online fight over the political future of their respective leaders, Rajinikanth and MK Stalin.
There have also been rumours that Murasoli had sacked a few people. However, speaking to TNM, sources in the Murasoli said that contrary to reports, the party mouthpiece had not sacked editors for the publication of the article.
"We have expressed regret for the article. These editors have been around for well over 30 years. Why would we sack them for this?" said one member of the publication.
Even as the two political stalwarts in the state- former Chief Ministers J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi- were constrained by illness and subsequently died, many actors from Kollywood saw a vacuum in the political landscape and launched their parties and outfits with Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan being the most prominent ones among them. Established political parties like the DMK and the AIADMK have criticised the star power which the duo have used for drumming up support.