On the last day of 2017, superstar actor Rajinikanth (Shivaji Rao Gaekwad), clad in a white kurta, announced his entry into politics, which he would float a political party and that it would contest in all 234 of Tamil Nadu’s Assembly constituencies.
Announcing his decision, the ‘Thalaivar’, which translates to mean leader, or boss, said, “The time has come for political change in Tamil Nadu. Time for the politics of truth, accountability, credibility and transparency; politics not based on caste or cash, but on spirituality”. In his speech, he also said,” I am not entering politics for fame or money. You have already given me fame and money - much more than I could ever dream of - not for the throne - if that is what I wanted”. Adding, “Politics has become very corrupt here. Democracy is under threat”. He has also announced the first letter of his new political party’s name. The first letter coincidentally is R. Rajni’s entry into TN politics will hopefully bring about tectonic changes in the Southern state.
The Government of India has honoured Thalaivar with the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016 for his contributions to the arts. At the 45th International Film Festival of India (2014), he was conferred with the "Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year".