Lights, Camera, Politics!

They don several hats in their reel life and now we find them donning several hats in their real life too. They capture the hearts of people all over this world through their movies and now we catch them doing the same with their political speeches. Welcome to the power-packed world of our Actor- Politicians. Be it Hema Malini or Jayalalitha,Amitabh Bachan or Govinda,film stars have always been closely connected to politics.  This trend of stars entering politics is seen not only in India but in the world over. The 40th American president Ronald Reagan was a famous film actor before he landed in politics. Other actors cum politicians include Charlton Heston and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

When it comes to political success actors from South India have been more far more successful when compared to Bollywood actors. Think of NT Rama Rao of Andhra Pradesh or the Jayalalitha, MG Ramachandran duo of Tamil Nadu. Their presence in politics can be felt strongly. They have been able to make a difference by setting up their own political parties. Move towards the north and you have actors like Amitabh Bachan, Govinda, Sanjay Dutt and several others who have dabbled in politics but with not so great success. Only few like Sunil Dutt have been seriously involved in political affairs. As a political leader Sunil Dutt has done a commendable job by being committed to the political work till his last breath. As a whole South Indian actors have been really active in their political endeavors when compared to their North Indian counterparts.

So why do so many actors get into politics? Being a political leader does promise a lot of special privileges and not to forget the bundles of notes pouring into their bank accounts .Usually actors who are past their youth or in the later stages of adulthood consider entering politics when their film career is about to touch the finishing line. We also have some not so good actors who have failed to succeed in the film industry wanting to try their luck in politics. Those who are young or with a rocking film career rarely consider entering politics. Even if they are coaxed by the political parties, they might just restrict themselves to appearances in the pre election meetings and political rallies.

With actors making such a smooth transition from movies to politics in spite of lacking the required skills we often wonder if they have any advantages over a common man appearing for the same position in politics. Actors do enjoy some benefits when they enter politics. Through their experience in cinema they have a good acumen when it comes to dealing with press and public which are highly essential in the arena of politics. As these actors already have a long line of fans following them, they easily get supporters who would vote for them. The illiterate people are the ones who easily get manipulated this way. They vote for their favorite actors out of general liking they have for them. The question of whether or not they are equipped with the skills needed to be a successful leader never pops in their minds. For actors, not succeeding in politics doesn’t involve much risk. If they are not performing well in the world of politics, they can always get back to their familiar film world.

The political parties often use stars to get more people on their sides. Most politicians today lack good oratory skills. Actors are generally good when it comes to speaking to the public, so the political parties consider them over someone who is not so good at handling the crowd.

Having seen the film stars sparkling on the political podium from time to time we often ask ourselves “Do they actually deserve this? Are they being a good political leader?” When it comes to campaigning actors do a pretty decent job as they are already skilled at alluring the crowd. But to be an excellent political leader there are many other skills required which they seem to be lacking. Actors like NTR and MGR or Sunil Dutt have been successful political leaders because they were devoted to their work. They had genuine desire to serve people and bring about positive changes in the society. They were not merely interested in grabbing the attention of the public and being on the newspaper headlines every other day.

Entering politics is the latest fad among actors these days. That’s the main reason why we find film stars blindly plunging into the black waters of politics. It does not matter whether they have the traits of a good political leader or not. They find a way to get into politics. But they must keep in mind that being a politician is a big responsibility and one cannot be successful unless they are devoted to their work. As a voter we must also understand this while casting our vote. Actors can be excellent politicians only if they perform this role exceptionally well. The show of politics is a live one after all unlike cinema where mistakes can be undone through repeated retakes.

Swati Ramnath

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