CHENNAI: Superstars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, contemporaries in Tamil Nadu cinema and now politics, again shared the stage in Chennai on Wednesday and kept hopes alive that they could join hands. Rajinikanth did not rule out the possibility.
"Only time will be able to tell that. Let us see in due course of time," Rajinikanth said.
Kamal Haasan backed him up on this stand. "Time is a good medicine for everything. I second it," the actor later said, his response to Rajinikanth's open-ended remarks.
The superstars, both adored as legends, have been taking baby steps into politics. They have announced their decision to take the political plunge within a space of just a few weeks and both have kept their focus sharply on improving the standard of governance.
Kamal Haasan has long been critical of the ruling AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu and had embarrassed the government with a brief campaign against corruption in the state. Rajinikanth, 67, has been more circumspect in speaking about his would-be rivals in the state's politics but packed in a sucker punch at AIADMK last month when he announced his decision to launch a political party.
"The political developments in the state over the past year have made us the "laughing stock of the country", Rajinikanth, also called Thalaiva, or leader by his legions of followers, had said. It was a reference to divisions in the AIADMK after the death of former Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa in December 2016.
Mr Haasan had been one of the first to congratulate him after that speech, tweeting, "I greet Rajini's social concern and political debut. Welcome welcome". After Kamal Haasan made the announcement to name his yet-to-be formed political party on February 21, Rajinikanth today wished him "all the best".
Wednesday's function that brought the two giants of Tamil cinema together again was in context of starting the film, 'Kizhakku Africavil Raju' (Raju in East Africa) planned as a sequel to a 1973 super-hit movie starring AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister MG Ramachandran, 'Ulagam Sutrum Valiban'.
Rajinikanth snapped the clapboard and Mr Haasan inaugurated the shoot.
But they could also continue to be like the two big stars, AIADMK's MGR and DMK's Karunanidhi. "It is going to be a race like how MGR and Karunanidhi opposed each other but were yet great friends," said K Hariharan, Kamal Haasan's filmographer.
In politics, Mr Haasan was the first off the block. Rajinikanth had attributed his hesitation in taking the plunge to his familiarity with politics. "We need to be prepared for (electoral) battle", Rajinikanth had said.
Rajinikanth thinks he is ready to prep for one and has announced that his political party would contest all 234 seats in the next assembly elections. That is scheduled to happen in 2021. But with politics in the state still considered fluid, would he be ready for the battle if the state were to go to polls in the next six months. "I will face it definitely," he told reporters.