Kamal Haasan is an actor-turned-politician and the founder of Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM), which was launched in 2018. Kamal won the Padma Shri in 1990 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014 for his contributions to Indian cinema.
The 63-year-old Haasan, born Parthasarathy — the youngest child in a family of lawyers — is no stranger to the limelight, having revelled in it from the tender age of five. His foray into politics could be connected to his Twitter persona. Beginning reluctantly in early 2016, the tweets were pithy and sometimes cryptic, but few and far between. Sometime after the passing of ailing chief minister J Jayalalithaa in December and during the Jallikattu agitation, the tweets turned sharper, more political and critical even as the game of musical chairs began unfolding in Tamil Nadu. At times, the cryptic tweets became a butt of memes for confusing people, but his appeal to the younger urban population as a clear thinking public-good minded person, who can articulate himself clearly in English and Tamil, is undeniable.
The southern superstar launched his party in February last year. Haasan said the six 'enjoining hands' symbol of his new political party 'Makkal Needhi Maiam' represented the six southern states. While speaking at the launch of his party, for which Haasan had "picked ideologies from everyone", the politician said he had kept his party's name 'Maiam' (Centre) because he did not belong to either the Left or the Right.
Kamal Haasan is not contesting in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but is backing 58 candidates from his party and its allies -- 40 for Lok Sabha and 18 for Assembly bye-elections.