Actor Rajinikanth on Monday underwent a minor procedure at the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre, where doctors removed the excess fluid that had accumulated in his lungs. “The fluid in his chest was pressing against the lungs, causing respiratory problems. We had to aspirate this fluid,” a doctor treating him told TOI.
The 61-year-old superstar was admitted to the hospital on Saturday with pneumonia, kidney and liver problems.
He is being treated at a private ward on the seventh floor, where doctors gave him oxygen intermittently and pumped him with antibiotics to clear respiratory infections.
“We are managing his kidney condition medically. At this point, we don’t know if we would have to start him on dialysis. It is possible that his kidneys would start functioning normally after he comes out of the severe respiratory infection,” a senior doctor said.
A bulletin from the hospital said a team of doctors was treating him for recurrent respiratory infection, temperature and fatigue. “He is cheerful and is being treated in the private ward. His vital parameters are normal. He has been advised to restrict visitors totally and is advised complete rest to avoid inter-current infections,” the bulletin said.
TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu and Gujarat chief minister Narendara Modi, who were in Chennai to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, called on Rajini. A section of the hospital was cordoned off for the visiting leaders’ security. Hospital spokespersons constantly assured reporters who thronged the hospital that the actor was responding well to the treatment.
Rajini’s family members refused to speak about his health condition. “We are disturbed by the rumours about his health condition. Rajini is reading and watching news about him in the media. He is definitely not critical,” said a relative of the actor. He is in a spacious suit and most of his close family members are with him. On Sunday, doctors who conducted a series of tests including CT scan concluded that he suffered from pneumonia. They found that he had fluid accumulation between layers of tissues that line the lungs and chest cavity. Blood tests showed elevation of serum creatin, which indicated kidney disease.India is a country, but when it comes to cinema, there are many nations. There is the Hindi film industry and a few other industries down South. They are as different as chalk and cheese when it comes to their styles, stories and treatments except for the occasional crossovers. Considering the size of the Hindi music industry and its reach, it is but obvious that Hindi cinema, by and large would be the most popular, except in the citadels down South. Given this scenario, it is impossible to think that somebody from the Tamil film industry would be able to tower over the total of all other industries, even if occasionally.
Sexologist Prakash Kothari says that power and passion are a deadly combination that often makes a man lose his sense of judgment. “During my long career, I have come across dozens of cases where men in power have confessed to sexual assault,” says Kothari.
In India, power and sexual harassment have long been intertwined. In 2008, Orissa assembly speaker Maheswar Mohanty was forced to resign after a young woman marshal accused him of being vindictive. She had protested against his sexual misconduct. In Kashmir 2006, a bunch of politicians, bureaucrats and police officers faced charges of sexually exploiting minor girls.
Sexual misdemeanours happened even in 1960s and 70s. Last year, veteran Bihar politician Ramnika Gupta told a national newsmagazine how a Union minister forced himself on her during the Dhanbad mines nationalization. The magazine wrote, “He asked her to meet him in the Circuit House after the AICC session and invited her to drive down there with him in the buggy that was provided for the party’s bigwigs. When they got to his suite, the finance minister bolted the door from inside. Taken aback, Ramnika said: “But I haven’t even had lunch yet.” His response was to go into his bedroom and reappear before her, stark naked. He overpowered her so she couldn’t escape, Ramnika says. Later she complained to the president of the Congress women’s wing and her friend Yashpal Kapoor, who was then Indira Gandhi’s secretary. But she was told to shut up and put up with it if she wanted to be in politics.”
Sexual assault by politicians happens abroad too. But the law, at least in one case, was severe. Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was sentenced to seven years in prison for rape when he was a cabinet minister in the late 1990s. Top politicians often display a readiness to engage in an extreme amount of risk-taking, says Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University inPhiladelphia. In the Strauss-Kahn case, if true, Farley said a crime would be “exceptionally risky.” “Risk-taking is one of the essential ingredients in highly successful or leading public figures and politicians. Strauss-Kahn (case) fits that bill,” Farley told Reuters. A prominent French socialist, Strauss-Kahn was expected to challenge Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency next year.
Consultant psychiatrist Avdesh Sharma says that sometimes power gets manifested in a sexual drive. “If anyone prone to such behavior has not been stopped by the laws of the land or hasn’t bothered to curb his own tendencies, he is likely to get the feeling that he can get away. If this incident has happened, it could be an example of repetitive behavior and more victims could turn up in future,” says Sharma.
James Walston, professor of Italian politics at the American University of Rome, also told Reuters. “Power is an aphrodisiac, as is well known, and we know as well that power in one sense is often presumed to be power in another sense. So a person who is head of the IMF might think he can get away with anything,” he said.