Star presence in politics

Changing Interests

Over the years, many celebrities have entered the world of politics

Making promises: Pooja GandhiCelebrities joining politics is not a new phenomenon. But it attracts considerable attention when a popular actor or actress makes an entry into politics. Like Pooja Gandhi’s recent decision to join JD (S), which also raised many eyebrows.

When it comes to South Indian politics, prominent film personalities have joined politics over the years. “Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M G Ramachandran, in his movies, played the role of a hero who works for the upliftment of the poor while opposing the rich. He had an interest in politics way back in 1936 before he joined the Tamil film industry. There is a long list of people from the film industry who have been successful in politics like NTR, J Jayalalitha, Chiranjeevi, Hema Malini and Jayaprada,” says Prashanth R, a professional.

He feels politics is a cakewalk for celebrities. “Actors are blessed with name, fame and money while a non-celebrity has to go through the tough process of achieving all these. For the common man, it’s what the politicians to that is important. People want 
development,” he says.

Many feel that celebrities do not help change people’s views. “Politicians use film stars for canvassing during elections so as to attract the crowd. Celebrities bank largely on their glamour, which is their main asset. Sometimes they display their ignorance of politics and history on public platforms. No doubt, they may draw a crowd, but it does not turn into votes,” says Vasudha, a student.

Tara, a veteran actress who has been active in politics for five years, says anybody can join politics provided he or she has the ability to mix with people. “I don’t find anything wrong in joining politics as the trend has always been there. If one has a service-oriented and dedicated mind, politics will definitely suit that person. I believe political affiliation gives one the strength and power to work for people. I am proud to be a BJP leader and I am ready to take any kind of responsibility assigned by the party,” she avers.

Meanwhile, she feels her personal achievements count a lot in her political career. “My achievement as a national award-winner acts as a plus point in my political career,” says the actress.

According to Praveen Bhat Sampa, a professional, politicians use the glamour of the stars and actors use politicians in order to secure their interests. “There are advantages for actors and political parties in this arrangement. Film stars can keep themselves in the public eye, boost their profile and strengthen their appeal. Political parties can attract crowds because of the presence of film stars,” he says.   

“When actors think that they can’t stay longer in tinsel town, they join politics so that they can be in the limelight forever. Most of those who join politics indulge in money-making and fail to do anything for the people.” 

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