Kamal Haasan is busy picking up pieces of his shattered ego, his political outfit and his cinematic charisma bartered away for an ephemeral Chief Minister’s Gaddi. The media in Tamil Nadu is as vitriolic in its scathing commentary of failure as it is in showering praise on victors. The other day a popular Tamil magazine’s prime time show called Kamal’s ambitious venture, Makkal Meedhi Maiam (The remains of the outfit). Ouch! That hurts. True enough, a number of Kamal’s key functionaries quit, Makkal Needhi Maiam, in quick succession. First it was Dr R Mahendran, VP and most visible fundraiser, Kamila Nasser, Dr Santosh Babu ex-IAS, who came on board with high mutual expectations, activist Padma Priya. More exodus is predicted. Kamal reacted with cinematic flare and Shakespearean style: “Traitors and fair weather followers, be gone. It’s good that I didn’t have to de-weed the ungratefuls.” The quitters too have their grouse and lament, “The fault dear Brutus…..we are underlings”. There are many who now gripe that inner party democracy was missing, Kamal took key decisions advised by two acknowledged carpetbaggers, an ex-PR consultant Suresh Iyer and a mercurial media consultant, Mahendran, building an impenetrable barrier around the leader. His admirers and followers have to now accept that he could not morph into that all conquering cinematic hero who could punch the opposition one-handed. In essence, has Kamal burned his bridges and used up his life lines?