It was to be expected. The response to the landslide victory of the BJP at the national elections by Bollywood personalities has been upbeat.
Anupam Kher said he was passing by Delhi’s Red Fort and felt elated. Madhur Bhandarkar announced his joy. Either through tweets, press statements or TV bytes, Bollywood was more than gung-ho. Shah Rukh Khan tweeted that “change is the only constant” and Farhan Akhtar hoped for an improved governance for the next five years. This was the running refrain.
About the only somewhat different reaction came from music composer Vishal Dadlani who said he would continue to support the Aam Aadmi Party.
Overall, all those who had affiliated themselves, either as candidates at the election or had given their tacit moral support to the BJP, have cause to pop the bubbly.
This blog, of course, does not probe into the political grid, as such, but at this very moment, it has to be reported that several of our B-town leading lights are wearing shining smiles.
It may be recalled that Amitabh Bachchan had faced criticism from some quarters when he became the official ambassador of Gujarat. It was also wondered why Ajay Devgn chose to visit the BJP leader Narendra Modi. Or why Lata Mangeshkar had expressed her faith in the leader. And then Salman Khan, close to the release of Jai Ho, made news by flying kites along with Narendra Modi. Unaffected by the criticism from some quarters, Salman’s father Salim Khan also didn’t mind being associated with the BJP.
Hema Malini, Kirron Kher, Vinod Khanna and Bappi Lahiri were among some of the prominent film personalities who contested the elections on BJP tickets.
Earlier when the BJP was in power from 1998 to 2004, one of its most high-profile names was none other than Shatrughan Sinha, who continues to be a significant name from his hometown, Patna, in the party’s hierarchy. Reportedly, he has been miffed with the party occasionally, but has never ever altered his ideology and conviction in the BJP.
At this election, the Congress in fact, seemed to be very thin on Bollywood support.
There was a time when Shah Rukh Khan was considered to be on close terms with Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi had even flown in to attend one of his celebratory events in Kolkata for his IPL team. But SRK has never come to the political forefront. He has never participated in election rallies or issued statements, in favour of Congress or for that matter any party.
According to some, the closeness to the Gandhi family, had thinned in recent times. Reason unknown.
Congress MP Rajiv Shukla, it is believed, had access to Shah Rukh Khan but could not convince to go political as such. Much like Amar Singh, formerly of Samajwadi Party, Shukla did have easy access to stars and superstars. It is believed that he persuaded Rekha – who has never uttered a political word in her life – to agree to become a Rajya Sabha MP. Followed news items and photos of Rekha and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan, keeping a studious distance from each other at Parliament sessions. Shukla roped in Ameesha Patel for election campaigneering this time, but to little effect evidenced from the results.
The involvement and ideologies of Bollywood stats could surely make for a very absorbing research study or a fact-based book. As soon as India gained independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru became an icon for the film industry. Stalwarts Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Sunil Dutt ceaselessly expressed their admiration for Pandit Nehru. To date, Sunil Dutt’s daughter Priya Dutt remains deeply connected to the Congress party.
It was during the emergency years (from 25 June 1975 to 21 March 1977) imposed by Indira Gandhi that there discontent was vociferously articulated against the Congress, most openly by Dev Anand. He was a prime mover in protest rallies.
Over time, Shabana Azmi has protested for the dishoused have-nots and was part of a candle march in Delhi, sparked by the 1992-’93 communal riots in Mumbai. An activist, she has campaigned tirelessly for social justice, although she seems to have kept a low profile of late. Javed Akhtar has bravely never minced his words on various issues. The ubiquitous Mahesh Bhatt has travelled to trouble spots in an effort to remedy injustice.
It is a fringe minority of showbiz people in Mumbai who can be described as dramatis personae in politics. The younger stars don’t seem to have political ambitions and have steered clear of campaigning for any one particular party. But who knows? Tomorrow the fresh brigade of Siddharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor could be bitten by the political bug. After all, the political scene is always capable of springing surprises.
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