When Lord Acton came up with the quote “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely”, I am sure he did not see the amalgamation of the two most powerful careers converging in the 21st century. Acting and politics is not for the faint hearted. The adulation, the brick bats, the following, the struggle, the euphoria, the admiration and the mass appeal can seldom be replicated in any other sphere. No wonder actors who have been bitten by the bug look at politics to take things forward because it is a symbiotic relationship. You scratch my back & I’ll scratch yours. Political parties want familiar faces to propagate their ideologies and actors who have exceeded their shelf life still want to continue in the limelight. Cases in point are Ronald Reagan, Amitabh Bachan(who had a forgetful political stint), Chiranjeevi(Praja Rajyam Party), NTR to name a few stalwarts.
|Actors and Politicians|
The similarities are plenty to think about because it has to do with acceptance by the masses which cannot be controlled by lame duck personalities unless you’re born with the surname a.k.a Rahul Gandhi but with charisma, baritone, leadership qualities, a positive bent of mind, looks and persona. Nepotism is intrinsic in the Indian sub context which does put a damper on things but the kind of characters that dot the landscape is a cartoonist’s delight. I am sure Mr. R. K. Lakshman would have enjoyed even today had he been alive. Politicians are the face of work done by bureaucrats while actors are governed by the playing field of the director. A lot of superstition, rituals, beliefs govern the two fields because they come with a lot of baggage. We have politicians from respective parties wishing us about different festivals and occasions, forget the fact if potholes have been removed, actors perform rituals like changing the spelling of their name to suit the stars, pandals and muhurats are organised in different parts in accordance with auspicious times giving a lot of weight age to astrology, numerology and Vaastu Shastra which have grown as points of intersection in their routines.Seldom would you come across anybody who has made it in the respective professions who would be without their entourage. What actors achieve at the macro scale is replicated by politicians on a micro scale which consists of hundreds of thousands of variables, pun intended. We Indians are an inquisitive lot because we cant do without our daily dose of the affairs of film stars or the scams of politicians. Their leanings and loyalties are also open for dissection because jumping ship is second nature in their fields.
Their is no set path towards fame and acceptance in the two fields because many a protagonist or worker has come from varied backgrounds. Being in Delhi, student politics is a huge deal with the kind of shenanigans that accompany every election for D.U.S.U(Delhi University Student’s Union) posts which can be a contrast to the glamour capital Mumbai where celebrities are a dime a dozen through different walks of life from backgrounds as different but not limited to ads, theater and TV. Politics is fast catching up with movie stars because a tea vendor is a Prime Minister or an investment banker is a President or the most powerful man on earth or POTUS was a businessman(still is?). I’d also like to talk about a politician who made a difference in my constituency by building a specialty hospital over a slum cluster, Dilli Haat for cultural exchange and gave a girl’s college under his leadership for seven consecutive terms and is now the governor of Andaman & Nicobar islands who actually made a difference which is a rare commodity. For the record, I do not have any affinity to any political party or outfit. The major difference lies where politicians represent an ideology, operate as a a party, seldom transcending boundaries across the political spectrum where as films mirror society at large depicting the feelings, emotions and the aspirations of the cine-goer. A song and dance can be juxtaposed against the drug mafia in a state. A politician has a fixed tenure when in power but a celluloid masterpiece can run for a few weeks or months depending on the visual medium. The lust for power puts the onus on the politician to keep a clean image and deliver on poll promises whereas an actor as celebrated as Shahrukh Khan has no qualms to portray a leading man in a pot boiler and then dance in his undies at Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter’s wedding as an entertainer.
I admit they are as different as chalk and cheese but just wanted to blurt it out.