Movie stars have to have a fan base, so do politicians. The actors in South Indian films enjoy demi-god status among their fans. It is almost a norm for any superstar of South cinema to take the political plunge.The actors use their charisma and the huge fan base they possess to make a successful career in politics. Some of the biggest names in Indian politics, especially South Indian politics, have been those who made their way there through the silver screen. Most of the actors have successful careers mainly because their fan base thinks that if the actor is good on screen he or she is fit to run the country. Some have a very successful career while some are utter flops. Let’s look at some big South celebrities who entered politics and how well they did:
Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran or MGR
The most successful celebrity transition into the world of politics was made by none other than MGR. MGR was a successful actor, director and producer who joined politics as a member of DMK and later formed his own party called the ADMK. MGR’s screen presence was unlike anything seen before, and his real-life presence was even more amazing.
He had three successful terms as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and was honored posthumously with the Bharat Ratna in 1988.
Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao or NTR, as he is popularly known, has migrated from the theater to the big screen. Playing the roles of Hindu gods in the mythological era of Telugu cinema, NTR became a cult figure. He used this popularity to start the ‘Telugu Desam’ to incite Telugu pride. Within a span of a year his party overthrew the Congress and he was made the Chief Minister. He served his state as Chief Minister 3 times. He was to Andhra Pradesh what MGR was to Tamil Nadu.
It would be just plain wrong if we don’t mention Amma when we talk about celebrities who became politicians. She was a superstar actress before entering politics. She was able to gain support of the masses who christened her ‘Amma’ and is the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for a record sixth time. She is known today as one of the most powerful ladies in Indian politics.
One of the most popular actors in Telugu films, Chiranjeevi entered politics in 2008 and formed the Praja Rajyam Party. He became the Union Minister of the State in 2012 and his term ends in 2018. He has to his list of achievements the National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration as a co-producer and the third highest civilian award- Padma Bhushan.
The younger brother of Chiranjeevi launched his own party called ‘Jana Sena’ party in 2014 and has been very active in politics since. His Jana Sena is all set to contest the 2019 elections and it is also said that he may even quit acting and make politics his career!
A BJP supporter, this Malayalam actor, known for his many roles as a police officer seeking justice, is now a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Just remember that!
R. Sarath Kumar
In 2006, Sarath Kumar quit DMK to join the AIADMK, a move that did not last long. He formed the All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi in 2007.
So, these were some of the big South celebrities who made a smooth transition into politics. Do let us know which others you think should follow suit!
–By Stacey Prince