Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Celebrities as politicians

With elections just round the corner, all parties, big or small are doing everything possible to woo voters. In doing so, they are resorting to online media like never before to reach out to the young generation; or coming up with innovative ideas like having tea stalls named after their candidates or for that matter using catchy tag lines to grab attention. That’s not all pre-poll alliances are a norm now. Here party principles, agenda do not matter, what matters is the NUMBER to form a government at the center. The incompatibility and other trivial (?????) things will be sorted out later. One of the most popular trends the political parties are adopting is, roping in celebrities to contest elections. The list includes, film actors, singers, sportsmen, and other artists. This has been the most popular trick to garner support and to gain votes, for film stars and sports persons have a demigod status in India and they are worshiped by many.

Fielding celebrities in the political arena is not a bad idea and is much better than fielding criminals and anti-social elements, but it has a flip side to it which is easily forgotten. How committed these celebrities will be if they win, will they really take up the causes of the people who voted for them, will they do justice to their candidature? Or simply vanish into thin air? These first timers need to know first, that politics is not a part time job and it’s a ruthless world out there. The lure of representing the people in the parliament is something which attracts them to politics, but when it starts obstructing their art, their first love they turn their back to this new role of a politician. The celebrities are used to the arc lights and the sound of “lights camera action” is difficult to let go. We have had enough instances in the past where these celebrities won with a thumping majority, but then hardly essayed the role of the people’s representative in real life. They are hardcore artists first, followed  by rest and no one can deny that. It’s but natural for them to follow their heart and art; but this confusion can create problems for the voters who voted them to victory; they do expect justice from these celebrities. To some extent it’s the people’s fault in helping them win; for they go by their screen persona and elect them; but in doing so they tend to forget one important thing, these celebrities are novices in this field and politics is something which would be secondary to them.

In the past many veteran actors, actresses fought the elections from various political parties, but simply vanished after they won. Vinod Khanna is one such case who won the seat from Gurdaspur constituency. During his pre-poll rallies he made a lot of promises to the people of Gurdaspur, to the extent of claiming to make Gurdaspur the next Paris (????) (“Main Gurdaspur nu Paris bana devanga”). Now what it meant, only he knows. Today he is nowhere to be seen and Gurdaspur is nowhere close to Paris. Another example is our very own Govinda who won from Mumbai, but then went back to what he does best, acting. Dharmendra is another example, which is better to be forgotten. You see these celebrities are used to doing guest or friendly appearances in the films, don’t be surprised if they do the same in parliament. My concerns are bound to increase, with huge number of celebrities being fielded in the coming general elections. The names include Moon Moon sen (???), Gul Panag, Kirron Kher, Bappi Lahiri (sone ki dukan) Baichung Bhutia, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Mahesh Manjerekar, Paresh Rawal, Priya Dutt, Nagma, Babul Supriyo (???) etc. Now the list looks interesting and worth a dekho but I wonder what are they going to bring on to the table (typical corporate lingo :) ), no, seriously how are they going to make a difference in the bigger scheme of things is what baffles me. I might be underestimating these wannabe politicians, but history keeps hounding me

Though there are exceptions to this trend. Late Sunil Dutt the veteran actor, Shotgun Sinha, Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini are some names who understood the meaning of people’s representative and did a good job, in fact Mr Sinha and the ladies are still very much active in politics. But this number is miniscule and nothing to brag about. This puts a serious question mark on the candidature of the celebrities and their motive. Will they immerse themselves in politics or turn their back when it matters, is to be seen. They deserve a chance, but at your own peril. Whatever is the result the run up to the coming general elections is heating up with an added spice of glamour. Who wins the race time will tell. Will the celebrity cum politicians do justice to the faith reposed in them or do a blink and miss role is to be seen. Whatever may be the result, request to one and all “PLEASE DO VOTE.

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