Mersal vs Vivegam: Battle between Vijay, Ajith fans illuminates power of Kollywood fandom
Tamil cinema generally known by the title ‘Kollywood,’ is famous for presenting superstars larger-than-life on screen. These films possess a trademark of high flying action and mass-masala but don’t ever try out new genres. Thus, here’s a question-Why is it that stars on attaining success at the box-office, they are advised to step inside the murky Tamil Nadu’s politics?
Well today, Mersal is a blockbuster probably due to the surrounding controversies but it is largely due to the superstar with a huge fan base name Ilayathalapathy aka Vijay.
It has been believed by Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa that films have paved a path to a successful political career in Tamil Nadu. In this state, fans are the vote bank and hence, Kollywood superstars do have an upper hand. Renowned Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasaan too entered politics but they distorted the traditional political parties but all thanks to their fandom spread across the state. Last week, DMK leader MK Stalin’s workout video went viral. There was a hidden mockery in it: he is as fit and macho as any of the other superstars.
Currently, there’s a clash going on between Thala (Ajith) and Ilayathalapathy (Vijay) in order to find out the bigger box-office star and who has got a larger fan base. Whenever a film arrives at the box-office, fan clubs kindle up their rivalry and start posting memes criticizing the claims made on the other end. For now, it’s a clash between Vivegam starring Ajith and Mersal starring Vijay films.
Some years ago, Ajith suppressed his fandom while Vijay kept encouraging his fans to indulge and adopt welfare activities in their areas. Still, Ajith fans are very strong as they arouse themselves on social media on the launch of his new film. However, the stories/reviews presented by journalists appear to fall negative towards both the stars.
The so called fan wars did exist a long ago. In 1950s-70s, it was MGR and Sivaji Ganesan; in 1980s’90s, between Rajnikanth and Kamal Hasaan and for now it is Ajith and Vijay. However, the Ajith and Vijay fans are seen on the same side whenever Suriya, another powerful rival, launches a new film.
Superstars in Tamil Nadu receive a demi-god treatment where they are offered paal abhishekam (purifying through milk) at 4 am. Also, the first day first show are termed as nirmaliyam shows, a word used for washing-dressing of deities in temples every morning. However, these shows are illegal, because govt. allows 4 shows a day. The tickets are black marketed for the nirmaliyam shows.
It’s believed by the actors, without mass films and a huge fandom, one can’t reach the box office. In the case of Vijay Sethupathi, he initially rejected the fan clubs and titles but now, he is known as ‘Makkal Selvam’ (People’s Actor). In an interview, he revealed that it was a title given by his guru Seenu Ramasamy and he had accepted it in the name of respect and honor for him.
Coming to the fan wars, it won’t come to an end as it is an inseparable part of Kollywood superstardom.