Sami – god – is a word Tamil films have used to put their heroes on a pedestal since sami knows when. But when Tamil film fans entered theatres in the state last week, after a 48-day strike that didn't allow the release of any new Tamil films, the word took on a new meaning. One that Tamil Nadu was definitely not prepared for.
In a video that has gone viral, the audience at a theatre can be seen watching a Tamil ad on the big screen. A young woman in a wheelchair comes to a temple for an 'archanai' as she has got a job. Another woman on the screen excitedly congratulates her and says this paves way for other disabled candidates to get jobs.
A priest then comes out to find out in whose name the 'archanai' has to be done. The man with the disabled woman then gives her name (Selvi) and details to the priest, and just when the priest turns away to begin the puja, the woman calls out to him.
"The archanai is not in my name,” she says. “Please do it in sami’s (god’s) name,” Selvi adds.
When the priest asks her which sami, the woman delivers the punchline for the unintended joke.
“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami,” she says.
And on cue, the audience in the theatre simultaneously burst into shocked laughter.
“He is the sami that gave me a job,” the woman in the ad says, even as the crowd – and everyone who has watched the video since – stares in disbelief.
(Translation: People who went to the theatre to watch movies after a lot of days are so dead.)
For Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, the last year has been all about appropriating former AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa's legacy. Right from claiming that he is upholding 'Amma's government' to fighting tooth and nail for the two leaves symbol, the leader whose roots lie in Salem district, has left no stone unturned to project himself as Jayalalithaa's successor.
But this time around, the Chief Minister may have gone too far with the ad – especially since he is barely popular, forget enjoying a demigod-like status that Jayalalithaa had.
The government commissioned ad has left the Chief Minister – seen by many as a ‘proxy’, first for Sasikala and then for Modi – as the butt of jokes in the state.
And it has of course led to some sami-level memes and jokes on the internet.
Sachin: I am Sachin..People call me God)
EPS:Then who am I? )
(Translation: You can trust the person who says there is God, you can even trust the person who says there is no God but don't trust the person who says he is god)
(Translation: Person who took the EPS ad, please come here.)
The common man continues to remain shocked.
(Translation: What is this torture sir!)
(Translation: Went to the theatre after a long time and forced to watch this nonsense)
(Translation: People, don't go near the theatre..You will have to watch this atrocity)
The general sentiment however remains that the ad has crossed an unsaid limit of narcissism allowed to politicians.
(Translation: Amma training not taken lightly)
(Translation: You guys are crossing a line)