Jan 1 – 31, 2018

Many facets of Thai Pongal: Pongal as Tamils’ Passover

By K. Thirukumaran

Tamils have celebrated Thai Pongal in one form or the other over millennia. Celebrating Thai Pongal nowadays in its traditional, purposeful piety and outdoor gala continues to evolve as vast numbers of diaspora Tamil communities exist in far corners away from their homelands. [TW]

Will Tamil Film Hero Rajinikanth Become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister?


In the May 2014 Indian General elections the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) led by Narendra Modi swept the poll in many states to form a government with a stable majority in New Delhi. However Tamil Nadu was one of the few Indian states to resist “Modimania” with the Jayalalithaa Jayaram led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) getting 37 of 39 Lok Sabha seats allocated to the state. Jayalalithaa’s resonating challenge at the 2014 hustings “Modi or Lady”resulted in the Lady routing Modi on her home turf. The BJP could not make headway in Tamil Nadu even during the 2016 Assembly polls. The AIADMK and chief opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(DMK)swept the polls.

The BJP was not the only National party of India that failed dismally in Tamil Nadu. Even the Congress party of the Gandhis and Nehrus which ruled in Tamil Nadu for 20 years after Independence from 1947 to 1967 has been unable to regain power in the South Indian state for the past 50 years. The “Dravidian” political ideology has been ruling the roost in Tamil Nadu. Either the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(DMK) or its Alter Ego the All India Anna-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(AIADMK) has been enjoying power in the state.Currently the AIADMK is in the saddle though Jayalalithaa herself passed away in December 2016.

In a not so subtle bid to gain politically in Tamil Nadu the BJP currently at the helm in New Delhi has been making several overtures to a popular Tamil film actor. 67 Year old Rajinikanth or ”Superstar” as he is known is still the single most popular mass figure among actors in Tamil cinema. Prime minister Narendra Modi paid a courtesy call to Rajinikanth when he visited Tamil Nadu for the polls campaign in 2014. Rajinikanth was invited as a special guest for Modi’s inauguration as PM the same year. BJP’s Tamil Nadu state leader Dr.Thamizhisai Soundararajan has been calling on the actor several times. The lady doctor has even been cultivating the superstar’s spouse Ms.Latha Rajinikanth.The BJP has been trying very hard to entice Rajinikanth into its Saffron folds and utilise him as the vehicle to reach its destination of capturing state power in Tamil Nadu. [DBSJ]

“Moovaenthar” Sivaji Ganesan, MG Ramachandran And Gemini Ganesan Were The Three Kings Of Tamil Cinema Heroes


‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ is a popular Christmas carol written and set to music by Rev. John Henry Hopkins Jnr in 1857. This is about the wise men mentioned in the Bible who came to Bethlehem with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to pay homage to the newborn infant Jesus.

Oral tradition gradually transformed the wise men of the east into three kings from the Orient. Western Christian tradition regards the three Kings as Melchior – a king from Persia,Balthasarr– a king from Arabia, and Gaspar – a king from India.

‘We Three Kings’ is one of my favourite Christmas carols.The “three kings” referred to in the carol keep ringing in my ears and provides the inspiration for this post-Christmas ‘Spotlight’ column. Only this article will be about three cinematic kings and not the mystical kings of the orient.This latter-day trio of kings were actor-heroes who reigned supreme as monarchs of Tamil movies during the latter half of the 20th century.

Sivaji Ganesan, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) and Gemini Ganesan comprised the triumvirate that dominated Tamil movies from the fifties to the seventies of the 20th century.The top thespian trinity of that vintage in Tamil cinema were Sivaji, MGR and Gemini. They ruled the roost in ‘Kollywood’ as the Tamil Nadu film industry is referred to in lighter vein. [DBSJ]