Rajinikanth on Friday spoke with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president MK Stalin after a satirical column in the Tamil Nadu party’s mouthpiece Murasoli slammed the actor for disrespecting the work of his own fans.

The actor issued a statement last week warning some members of Rajini Makkal Mandram, a precursor to his proposed political party, against indulging in certain activities. He said just because someone has been his fan for 40 years does not mean the person is eligible for a position in the proposed party. He has never asked his fans to spend money on his behalf, he added, so they should not expect political benefit in return. The filmstar also recalled his statement in May asking those looking at politics as a source of revenue to leave Rajini Makkal Mandram.

On Friday, Murasoli carried a stinging satirical piece, pivoted around Rajinikanth’s statement, that claimed the actor had let down fans who have tirelessly worked for him for decades. It accused the actor of becoming a puppet of those who want to destroy the Dravidian movement, before asserting that this plan would not work.

People close to Rajinikanth said after the column was brought to his notice, the actor discussed it with his aides. He then reportedly contacted a member of Stalin’s family who suggested that he speak directly to Stalin.

DMK officials said a telephone call to Stalin followed not long after. “Rajini sir was very upset,” said a senior member of the Mandram.

The official claimed the actor shared a good equation with Stalin’s late father M Karunanidhi and has avoided making any confrontational statement against the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. “When we have not even launched our party, why should we be attacked like this?” he asked.

Taken by surprise

The column had taken several leaders in even the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam by surprise. They noted that Murasoli is now firmly under the control of Stalin and his family. So, the column was likely sanctioned by Stalin himself. This is what is really surprising. “There is no necessity to give Rajinikanth so much importance,” said a party leader who requested anonymity, arguing that it will only elevate the actor’s position.

This is the background in which Murasoli issued a veiled apology on Saturday. A small piece said the column has hurt “good-hearted” people and the editorial has been asked to be cautious going forward.

Interestingly, these developments have come at a time when Rajinikanth has just completed shooting for his next film Petta, which is produced by Sun Pictures of Kalanithi Maran.