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'Lal Salaam' a PR stunt much like 'Yatra 2'?


'Yatra 2' is overtly pro-Jagan. There can be absolutely no problem with the motives of the film in a democracy like ours. Anybody can do any political film with any number of propaganda points. YSRCP happened to find two filmmakers to serve its agenda this election season: RGV ('Vyooham' and 'Sapatham' will be released on February 23 and March 1, respectively) and Mahi V Raghav (the director of 'Yatra 2').

Is 'Yatra 2' this week's only PR stunt? Some cinephiles opine that even 'Lal Salaam' could be a PR stunt - a film meant to rob Rajinikanth of his Hindutva baggage. His daughter, Aishwarya, herself is the film's director.

In Tamil Nadu, Dravidian politics has meant that several Kollywood writers/directors have to show Brahminism as evil and DMK-style atheism as noble in films and on podiums. Even Hindu imagery is discouraged. In this context, Rajinikanth openly supported the BJP in 2004.

Recently, he was there for the Ayodhya Ram Mandir consecration. His film 'Baba' was laced with spirituality. He is a proud Hindu. When he wanted to enter politics, he did 'Kabali' and 'Kaala' ostensibly to woo Dalit and OBC voters. It is another point that he didn't step into politics.

Speaking at the 'Lal Salaam' audio function, here is what his daughter Aishwarya said: "People keep saying things about my dad that hurt me. Recently, he gets called a Sanghi. That angers me. I want to tell you all that my father is not a Sanghi. If he were a Sanghi, he would not have acted in this film."

It was an open attempt to convey to the humongous anti-BJP vote base in Tamil Nadu that Rajinikanth is not a BJP loyalist. Some dialogues in 'Lal Salaam' might have been directed to convey certain views perceived to be serving the interests of those who demonize the BJP for political reasons and have zero genuine interest in uplifting the Muslim community.

In TN, films are made to make political points. Vetrimaaran and Pa.Ranjith, Kamal Haasan and Bala... They have all tried to make political statements through their films. In the case of 'Lal Salaam', it is about an individual's perceived political identity. That's what makes it a PR stunt. Deep down, actually, Rajinikanth could have a soft corner for the BJP.