Jai Ho!


When the five phased, 15th Lok Sabha Elections, took off on the 16th of April 2009, the country started to stir up with an altered form of politics. Our netas decided to reform the tradition and garnish the platter with a lot more excitement and entertainment. And, all this was done in the frequently patronized “Bollywood Style”.

It all started with Sanjay Dutt’s sensational plunge into politics. For him, the lack of political initiative during the 26/11 attacks paved the way to a much publicized political career.

There has always been a hue and cry about filmstars flipping the container of rice to mark their sacred and seamless transition from “filmdom” into politics.

We’ve always spoken about their lack of experience in the political arena. But, what we shouldn’t forget is that like many others who’ve already won the “Royal Rumble”, the “Baadhshahs of Bollywood” are wrestling in the exact same capacity. The only difference being that they already have fame to their credit before they enter the ring. And we can’t blame them if they choose the only forum they have to bring into focus, their desire to serve the people. No law stops them from campaigning or contesting on behalf of a party of their choice. Politics is an entirely different kettle of fish. Agreed! But only when they’re in the game will they learn the rules.

If a poll is taken, a sane voter would place a Mayawati and a Dharmendra on similar blocks on the victory stand. Here too, a Dharmendra would get a one up for being the “chhota chor”. If these film stars grant a more polished appeal to their respective parties, they seem to be causing no harm! An iconic status being used to help the voter crack out of his cocoon and crawl towards the polling booth sounds flawless to me! If a film star contributes a naught towards nurturing a constituency, then, there are a good 80 percent in the family contributing lesser and at the same time, grabbing a boot of cash!

The innate intelligence of the voter was obviously being taken for granted when parties were busy renting actors for their campaigns. The janta has always been looking for candidates who are accessible to them and can solve their local problems. And today when they’re doing exactly that, why are we still cribbing?

Politics has now started to lose the title of an “uncomfortable terrain” for these actors for a lot of them have made this genuine transition.

Down south too, where actors enjoy a soaring reputation of “do-gooders” and “messiahs of the poor”, this image in politics is carried off very well. In all his sincerity, maybe it is the actor’s way of reciprocating service to his fans. Not always and not everyone thinks about capitalizing on popular goodwill. If the fan clubs that extend over the length and breadth of these states get converted into political platforms overnight, it is because the voters, who in all their senses, allow it to happen. How, then, can one deny, that the voter is not convinced about the genuinity of the cause that the actor- turned -politician is about to undertake?

This segregation of politicians from Bollywood netas is brutally unfair. For these actors, being at the fag end of their careers doesn’t make them devoid of sensibilities!

I’d only like to insert a quote here from Sanjay Dutt where he spoke as a disturbed citizen who wanted to see change by being a part of it. He said post 26/11, “How could those ten terrorists just stroll into our city like it was a park and do what they like? How our forces fought with those ten terrorists on that night without proper facilities and the way our politicians were held up to ridicule for their supposed inadequacy, I felt people like us who have a face and a clout need to come out and take the plunge. At least I’d set an example in politics. Like-minded people who are afraid to join politics may be encouraged to do so.”

They say that in politics, one has to “act”. So if political parties are willing to stamp their invites, there’s possibly nothing that stops these actors and actresses from joining the rest of the gang in their party!

Aditi Malhotra

[Image source:http://www.gracejunction.com/images/blog/2009/05/APTOPIX_India_Elections_sff.jpg]