Sunday, 1 May 2011

Fan frenzy of Tamil actors - Times of India Report

With Ajith disbanding his fan clubs recently, TOI examines the nature of fan clubs and their work in Tamil Nadu…
Are Tamil actors getting jittery about their fan clubs? Ajith, one of the most popular stars in Tamil cinema with a huge fan base, has recently issued a press statement disbanding his fan clubs.
On the eve of his 40th birthday (he celebrates his birthday today), the star stated that while he appreciated his fans’ work and dedication, it would be better for them to keep it apolitical. It looks like the actor has come to know that his fan clubs are being used to further the interests of certain political parties. The actor added that he had never used or exploited his fans for personal gain. However, he’s under tremendous pressure to reconsider his decision as it comes as a shock for fans who were planning to celebrate the actor’s birthday in a grand manner.
The star has taken a bold step to disband his well-oiled fan clubs, which are spread all over the state. He’s not the first actor to be troubled by such clubs. In Tamil Nadu, the mighty fans’ associations have always been a lucrative vote bank right from the days of MGR. In fact, Vijayakanth built his political career on the strength of his fan clubs.
The pressure on actors like Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan from their fans to dive into the murky world of Tamil politics has forced the icons to play down their fan base. Associating with these actors seems to be on top of the priority list for politicians, most of whom made a beeline to Rajinikanth’s residence to get his blessings during the recent assembly polls.
Says Madurai-based Kumaravel, who has been affiliated to various fan clubs, “In the 80s and 90s, genuine fans used to spend money from their pocket to put up cut-outs of his hero. They also used to feed the poor on the day of release and generate an opening for the star. Today, professional politicians have hijacked the fan clubs and are using it to make money and cultivate vote banks.”
Meanwhile, a source close to Ajith says, “A majority of his admirers feel that he has taken the right decision, considering today’s highly-politicised atmosphere. Posters lauding his efforts have come up in Madurai. One of them say, ‘Thaliva, Ennaku Padaviyum Vendam, Iyakkam Vendam. Ungal Idayathil Idam Mattum Podum’ (’We don’t want any post, any club. All we want is a place in your heart.’) That mirrors the feelings of the genuine fan, who brings real happiness to Ajith sir.”
Source: Times of India (Dated: 1-5-2011)

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