A couple of days back, a picture of a wall-painting in Chennai went viral on social media. Why is this wall painting special? A conventional way to popularise politicians, this one heralded the entry of RJ Balaji into the sphere of politics. The photo sparked off immense speculation — a popular face in the Jallikattu protests, who has been vocal socially before and after that, it wasn’t far-fetched that RJ Balaji would turn a politician. The speculation was further fuelled when the flag of a party started floating around online. When it almost seemed certain that we have one more media personality taking the political plunge, RJ Balaji revealed that the photos are part of his upcoming film LKG, which revolves around the political strata.
Talking to indianexpress.com about the idea, RJ Balaji discloses that it was all part of the plan but he never expected the reaction he received. “I thought a few youngsters would talk about it but I certainly did not expect the entire state to talk about it.” The popular radio jockey turned actor said that this was a promotional idea that cropped up during a discussion with his team of friends. “We are not a big budget film, it is not an Ajith or Vijay film that everyone will talk about. If I had announced that I am going to unveil the first look of a film, a few people might be interested but that’s it. When you can generate interest through such ideas, it becomes effective and cost-efficient as well.”
LKG will be a political satire that aspires to educate the audience about what happens behind the screen. The team has spoken to around 60-70 politicians including senior leaders, MPs, ministers, and MLAs. “I am entering politics but through films. Politics is not just about contesting elections. The main backbone of politics is knowledge and I’m delivering that through the film.” This is also what makes LKG different from his stand-up show Ice House to White House. “Ice to White House was my way of expressing my opinion about things around me. There was no fabrication as to the content.”
However, Balaji made it clear that LKG is not a ‘puratchi film’.”There are two reasons to name the film LKG. The first is we are all LKG in politics, the main character is one. And the second, it’s a film for the entire family. There is a lot that will appeal to children and women as well.” The Naanum Rowdy Thaan actor also stressed the politics in the film hasn’t been designed to target anyone. “This is a film that doesn’t target a particular political outfit or an individual. Ellarume onu than panranga — arasiyal panranga. (Every politician does the same.) I am not trusting on a controversy to make my film a big film. I have solid content that will make it a good film. Even politicians who watch the film will not oppose it, it’s not against them.”
Apart from RJ Balaji, the film will also feature Priya Anand and popular ex-ADMK politician Nanjil Sampath who will be playing RJ Balaji’s onscreen father. As a politician, Nanjil Sampath is quite popular in Tamil Nadu but for the wrong reasons. One of the faces that ruled the memes of the state, Nanjil Sampath is definitely an interesting choice. “I have never perceived Nanjil Sampath sir as a bad person. We have been surrounded by politicians who have made our lives so difficult. We might have laughed for several things but he has never hurt anyone. He is a good speaker. There is something about him that will make you look for the second time.” Balaji also added that while he is not sure if this is the politically correct perspective, Nanjil Sampath has definitely been a great value addition to the team. “He really liked the script when we approached him. Now he is like a father figure to us. He has given us several insights about politics as well.”
In a state where cinema has always played an important part in social and political communication, the political turmoil we currently face will create a trend where films will increasingly talk about politics. “Like we saw a horror film season, there will and should be a political film season which comprises 10 films with political relevance. So that people know what is happening and talk about it, my effort is a part of that wave.”