Why Udhayanidhi Stalin’s announcement that he would abandon films is likely to be just another act

After being sworn in as a minister in the Tamil Nadu state government led by his father, MK Stalin, Udayanidhi Stalin, apparently his heir, said he intended to quit acting and engage in politics full time.

It is now widely believed that after the era of Stalin, leadership of the DMK will be handed over to Udhayanidhi, given that Stalin and his extended family want to ensure a smooth succession to him. No one in the family would like the young Udayanidhi to wait so long to take up the mantle as his father did.

Udhayanidhi also claimed that he would now devote himself to dealing with the ministerial responsibility handed down by his party. If Udhayanidhi is true to his words then his next movie, Kanai NampathiIt will be the last to appear as an actor.

Interestingly enough, the film’s title translates to “You Hardly Believe Your Eyes,” which echoes the question most people and seasoned political observers are now asking: Should one believe the announcement made by the young DMK scion especially given his family’s generational obsession with the town’s tinsel?

There is always a need for Udhayanidhi to focus more on the political challenges at hand, given his imminent coronation as the next DMK chief. He and his followers must ensure that his ministry does not collapse under the weight of expectations coming from all sides.

On the other hand, the 45-year-old youth wing leader has to face political challenges coming from the rapid rise of BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit, K.P.

While ardent DMK supporters and a large section of the local media, which is often indistinguishable from the party’s official propaganda arm, hope Udhayanidhi will stay true to his word and spare them the embarrassment of defending the indefensible, few political observers in the state are concerned. It is unlikely that Udaynidhi will quench his acting ambitions. They cite the long history of the first DMK family’s obsession with the film industry and, in particular, one unfulfilled dream that continues to consume them.

DMK’s first family has always aspired to achieve superstardom for someone in the family, and has tried time and time again to use the Force to see if that goal can be achieved.

From Udhayanidhi’s grandfather M Karunanidhi and many others in the clan, including his father, Stalin, the family has always struggled to manufacture a star actor within the family ranks, despite all the influence and financial power it has wielded over the Tamil film industry for decades.

Karunanidhi, who wrote screenplays for films in the 1960s, had a long association with the Tamil film industry. He has written nearly 45 weirdos in a span of four decades.

Shri Sundaram, who owned the famous modern theaters in Salem, is known to have provided much needed initial financial support to Karunanidhi, in the early days when he was making his debut, both as an aspiring writer and politician.

From then on, he started making the chops as a young captain with the blessing of the late CN Annadurai (aka Anna). He continued to work in films after becoming the leader of DMK after Annadurai, and even during his multiple stints as Chief Minister later on.

It would be interesting to note that during his career as a screenwriter, films that became hits always had star actors, like the late Anna Dravida Munira Kazhagam Supremo MG Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR) or the veteran Shivaji Ganesan who played lead roles.

Other than a handful of these films, most of them scripted by Karunanidhi were commercial failures despite all the influence he wielded in and out of power.

Even in his day, rumors circulated that a group of talented writers had helped Karunanidhi, and that most of his works were for them, with his surname.

Having a middling career in the film industry, Karunanidhi tried to position his eldest son, M. K. Muthu, as an actor making use of his connections and influence in the industry.

The attempt was not just to forge a career for Muthu but to create him as an antidote to the charismatic MGR, who had made waves as a successful actor and was politically on a collision course with Karunanidhi.

Altogether, Muthu acted in seven films, most of which were disasters for the producers and the actor. In the end, he could be neither a successful actor nor a political heir apparent, which is what the late leader DMK wanted. It faded into oblivion and later emerged as a major source of constant embarrassment to Karunanidhi later in life.

Even Prime Minister Stalin tried his hand at acting. In the late 1980s, he appeared as the main star in two films (Aur Ratham And the McCall Annaital) and two TV series (Korinji Malar And the Syria). Despite the apparent seriousness with which Stalin tried to present the roles he wrote, his performances continue to serve as meme material for his opponents.

All this, and the recent dash of the First Family in Tamil film aka Kollywood, by Udhayanidhi, shows one thing – despite all the family’s political success over the decades, through a grandfather, father and son trio, the First Family has always strived for ‘superstar’ status. cinema”, which has now become a key component of a tremendous success in state politics.

More than that, there was always this feeling that none of them from the extended Karunanidhi family could get even remotely close to MGR and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. They have achieved such unparalleled stardom and charisma through films that if they do not come with such a level of popularity, they will not be able to reach the high office in a movie obsessed state like Tamil Nadu.

Udhayanidhi himself has worked his way through the film industry as a producer and actor, often facing accusations of using arm-twisting tactics and the sheer power of family holding political office.

The growth of his production house, Red Giant Movies, has been in sync with the time and years when his party, DMK, assumed power in government under his grandfather Karunanidhi in 2006-2011 and now under his father who took office in mid-2021.

Until 2021, when DMK came to power and Stalin became prime minister, the production house managed to distribute approximately 25 individual films and produced a handful, while the company throughout its entire existence since 2016 has distributed about the same number, 25.

These figures show how the 1st family benefits from the power in their hands, when their party DMK is in power to carve their way through Kollywood and be a hugely successful monopoly, feared by almost all the stars worthy of their name in Tamil Nadu.

With his production house, Udhayanidhi has also managed to play the hero in about seven films in all these years. While these films have seen a huge release, which is only for the big stars of the state (Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Vijay and Ajith), none of the films went on to become hits worth writing about.

His production house Red Giant used its power in the distribution business, thus convincing exhibitors across the state to give his films the largest number of screens and ensure that there was no competing film release, hitting the already low turnout of his films in the early days of release.

Given all this, and the urgency of an A-family star still far off, it’s only natural that Udhayanidhi would continue dabbling in acting, to try and be a big star at best or stay relevant, at least.

Not only that, in the event of a political downfall of the party in the fray, remaining as a representative is the best insurance for a person like Udhayanidhi, who is at all unimaginatively close to his illustrious grandfather and even Joss Sr., in stature and realization as a leader.

Given all this, the chances of Udhayanidhi calling her dropping his co-acting looks remote. And short of public memory, it will be an incentive for the actor and politician to do so, when he so chooses.

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