Bollywood to Ballot Box Battle

In the 2009 Indian general election, the Bollywood stars have shown active involvement in both electoral and non-electoral political activities and have remained in the media spotlight. Electoral activity includes joining a party to contest elections while non-electoral activities primarily deals with electoral campaigning and generating electoral awareness among people and urging them to vote.


All Bollywood stars have a following of their own which they bring into politics when they enter the political domain themselves. They create excitement and interest among “passive” Indian citizens who then start to take interest in politics more specifically the elections. The political parties are therefore always eager to include the Bollywood biggies in their own party to fetch more votes for themselves.


Many Indian film stars like Govinda, Nafisa Ali and Jaya Bachchan are contesting elections this year, however their capacity and ability to represent the people and serve their interests remains questionable.


Most of the film stars who have joined politics seem to be ignorant of the Indian political history or even their own party’s political allies. Some are far from understanding the needs of their people and country and are surely incapable of chalking out a development plan for the same. They are only good at the appealing of emotions of the masses. They have little or no idea about the working of the Indian democracy and will be found tongue tied if quizzed on matters of political importance. They are also generally puppets in the hands of their party leaders who guide them and plant them in the political system to get the votes of the film star’s fans and supporters.


It is therefore necessary for the citizens that they choose their representatives and leaders with great caution and not just on face value. It is important to understand that the requirement of politics is different from that of Bollywood. It is true that our politicians are great “actors” themselves; however they do possess more knowledge about politics and the working of the country as compared to the film stars who come from a world of fantasy and fiction and remain out of touch from reality. Politicians are seasoned in the art of running a country. Besides, it is possible that even actors, when they don the garb of a politician may also become corrupt.


However, film stars can play a very significant non-electoral role. They can motivate people to vote, highlight a cause or raise funds for a project as people love them and follow their example. They do not need to be trained in any kind of political learning to motivate people or educate them. Active participation in non electoral activities has been seen by Aamir Khan, Karan Johar and many others from the Indian film industry who through advertisements, videos, articles, blogs,. etc have tried to educate people on what kind of a leader they should choose to make a difference in their lives and have also motivated them to vote by bringing to their knowledge the importance of every vote being crucial in breaking or making a political party’s fate. As a result of their efforts the voter turn out has shown slight increase as compared to the previous general election in many states.


I, therefore, wish to conclude that film stars should restrict themselves to non-electoral activities unless they have the required capacity and capability to run the country. They should use their position for the good of the country and should not misuse their position and support base to fulfill their own selfish interests. As citizens they should play their part and we should play ours by not only voting but voting for the right candidate!


Aditi Shorewal