Poor Vadivelu! His real life story is eerily looking like the comedy pieces he does in movies. One of the common comic themes running in Vadivelu's comic sequences is Vadivelu hatches up plans or ideas thinking that he is on the winning side or that it will work in his favour. But as the situation unfolds, in the end he is the one who becomes the loser and the laughing stock. Looks like reel life has imitated real life. Courted by DMK, promised with offers of juicy roles in movies (as in the case of the Surya Nayanthara starrer Aadhavan), with the possibility of even having a starring role in some of them (ala Pulikesi) and intoxicated by the idea of power, Vadivelu crossed the limits when he went on a one man bashing of Vijayakanth, which angered many people in the film world like Rajinikanth because Vijayakanth is a respected veteran in the field. Tamil film world has no qualms about which party its actors support but it does not take too kindly when one of its own well respected members is personally attacked. Vadivelu's problem was he did not know how to separate the personal and the political and in the process got himself burned.
Now that the election smoke has cleared away it has left behind winners and losers. Looks like at present the biggest loser is Vadivelu and he has sort of become an unofficial persona non-grata in the film world – for the moment at least.
Vadivelu’s case is a sign of a larger rot in the Tamil film world where the politicization of the Tamil cinema might have a negative effect on the Tamil film industry in the long run. India is a free country and everybody should be free to support who they like and get on with their work. The concern was that under the Karunanidhi administration, DMK, via Karunanidhi’s grandsons, was tightening its grip and controlling the movie industry. And anyone not with DMK or not in their favour had a tough time.
Notice the way Ajith was being boycotted by the some people in the industry when he said some things that needed to be said. One of the first people who stood up to cheer him in the crowd was Rajnikanth. And some people say it was Rajini’s personal intervention that saw to it that Ajith was not victimised for the incident. But knowing Ajith, if he had been ostracized by Tamil film industry, he would have just walked away – which would have been a terrific loss for the industry (there would never have been a Mankatha because no one would have dared to play that role except Thala. Of course it is an irony that this film was produced by another of Karunanidhi’s grandsons.)
And who can forget what the powers-that-be tried to do to Vijay’s Kaavalan? It made me laugh when I read that Udhayanidhi Stalin saying he was a Vijay fan and would go and see the first day show of his movie Velayudham. Can anyone forget that it was Udhayanidhi Stalin’s production of Manmatha Ambu that ensured that Vijay would not be able to release his movie during Christmas of 2010? Vijay had first originally wanted to release Kavalan during that time but could not get good theatres because Udhayanidhi ensured that his movie had all the best theatres in town. I mean when you are the grandson of the CM and you ask for the best theatres, what can the theatres owners do? No one in the cinema field seems to have the spine or strength to stand up to the powers that be whether it is the DMK then or the AIADMK now. To be fair so far AIADMK is not into film production and let’s hope the party leaves it at that.
Coming back to Vadivelu, what can one learn from him? That is all right to support the political party that you want but please be sure that you are not made use of by them for their purpose. Because when the horse that you back loses, you will be left hung to dry. And remember, in the Tamil film industry, all actors – more so if they are male and a well-respected veteran – are like brothers. When you attack one very personally, others will feel it too. Attack the policies not the person.
You can’t keep a good actor down for long. Vadivelu will surely return to screen. We wish him all the best and hope he has learned from his bitter lesson. The Vadivelu saga should also serve as a lesson to all other actors who hope to plunge into the political arena soon. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.