Are Bollywood celebs becoming cheerleaders of political parties or following their heart?
India is the world’s largest democracy (even if we don’t behave like one) and people always have something to say on politics, sports, and Entertainment. As we all know, Lok Sabha polls are around the corner as the first phase of polling will start from April 11. The results will be declared on May 23. But, over the last five years, we have especially seen many Bollywood celebrities covertly or overtly taking political sides. Is this healthy for our vibrant and throbbing democracy or are we becoming a totalitarian state?
Why don’t we look at this year only i.e. 2019? ‘The Accidental Prime Minister’, ‘Thackeray’, ‘URI: The Surgical Strike’, ‘PM Narendra Modi’ – can you guess any similarities or a pattern here? The above-mentioned films are glorifying or praising the work of the ruling party i.e. Bharatiya Janata Party.
There is nothing wrong in making films on these subjects, but filmmakers cannot become cheerleaders of the present day government or their stooges. These films’ timing is also suspect as it is releasing right around the elections and it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out what is the real motive.
In 2015, when Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan talked about intolerance and not feeling safe in India, they were branded as anti-nationals and told to go to Pakistan by right-wing supporters and trolls. The two megastars were publicly humiliated and in the case of Aamir, he lost sponsorship of a leading online shopping site.
Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan were targeted by right-wing trolls and supporters for airing their views.
Recently, Nasseruddin Shah talked about his children and their safety and how they could be lynched. This was in the wake of Muslims being lynched to death by cow vigilante groups. He was also given the most prestigious title of ‘Pakistani and an anti-national’.
Why can’t we have a situation like West vis a vis Hollywood, where the likes of Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro and other high profile public figures can blast their president Donald Trump and not be called traitors or being charged for sedition. That is what democracy is all about, isn’t it?
Meryl Streep is an all-time great Hollywood actress but is quite dismissive of US President Donald Trump.
We also have the likes of Anupam Kher, Kirron Kher, Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar (the great irony is that he is a Canadian citizen), Paresh Rawal, Kangana Ranaut, Sonu nigam, Ashok Pandit, Vivek Agnihotri, Madhur Bhandarkar, Vivek Oberoi giving the impression of being spokespersons of the ruling party and according to me, not being objective.
The Indian Republic is the world’s fastest-growing economy and our 70% population is under the age of 35. It is our rightful duty to ask questions and hold them (read: our MPs and MLAs) accountable. Bollywood is no longer a soft power and it is high time that B-town stars have their own view.
Post Script: It has become a common trend by right-wing fringe groups to tell people to go to Pakistan if they don’t agree with the government. But, why not Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bangladesh, Syria, Libya, Malaysia, and Afghanistan because these countries are also dominated by the Muslim community. We have to get one thing right and i.e. questioning your elected govt cannot make you anti-national or a traitor. We are at the end of the day a democracy, where law of the land is followed and not a dictatorship.