While the Indian Film Industry remains the biggest world of glitz and glamour, this year the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 too seem not to lag behind. In fact, it seems to have borrowed much of the glitterati from the celluloid world.
Under normal circumstances one would have to wait for ages before a bungalow of an actor or outside the sets of a film to catch a glimpse of their favorite star. But this year we owe it to the political parties to have made a star-gaze easier. Attend any rally of these parties and you are bound to see some glossy faces. If you are fond of Bollywood actresses from the 60s or 70s, we have Hema Malini (BJP) and Jaya Prada (Samajwadi party) for you. If you like the South Indian stars there is Ramya and Nagma (Congess.) for your gaze. In fact in the most searched celebs contesting the 2014 election, Ramya tops the chart, then comes Nagma, then Hema Malini and Jaya Prada, in the same order. Rakhi Sawant, otherwise known for her exposing outfits and foot-in-the-mouth comments, is now a to-be-taken-seriously politician, a candidate of the Rashtriya Aam Party contesting from Mumbai. Gul Panag is contesting for AAP from Chandigarh. Apart from these beauties, you have Shatrughan Sinha (BJP), Vinod Khanna (BJP), and Raj Babbar( Congress), Paresh Rawal (BJP) and Mahesh Manjrekar (MNS) contesting the elections this year. The Bhojpuri fans too have reasons to be elated. Ravi Kishan, known as the Amitabh Bachchan of Bhojpuri cinema, is contesting the elections for Congress from Jaunpur and Manoj Tewari for BJP from north east Delhi. The list hardly ends here. If one were to come to West Bengal, they would feel as if the entire Tollywood industry has come to the rescue of Trinamul Cogress. Veteran actors like Tapas Pal, Shatabdi Roy, Joy Banerjee, Moon Moon Sen (flanked by her glamorous star daughters Raima and Riya) Naina Das, famous musicians and singers like Bappi Lahiri and Babul Supriyo, and above all, the Bengali superstar Dev have been roped in the by Trinamul Congress.
This year, most of the political parties have not only roped in names and faces from the film industry but are also using entertainment and social media as a tool to their propaganda. Crores of rupees have been spent by Congress to shoot their pre-election campaign with the slogan, “Bharat ke nirmaan me hak hai mera” that is being aired on TV. BJP has not only come up with TV campaigns with the line, ‘Ab Ki Bar Modi Sarkar’, but they have specially catered to the cricket loving TV audience with their cricket cartoons hailing Modi. While the political parties have been busy promoting their own, the Election Commission too is not left behind. We have TV commercials declaring against bribes in the form of donations, the importance of casting your vote and so on. In Kolkata, the EC has got RJ Praveen to talk about the electoral duties of a citizen over the radio. EC has even partnered with 93.5 Red Fm for the same and they have come up with a program Dabaa ke Bajaa. Apart from this, almost all the political parties and their candidates are on social media this year. Campaigns are being carried out on Facebook and Twitter. Modi has his own page. So has Rahul Gandhi. Senior BJP leaders like Smriti Irani, Sushma Swaraj, Minakshi Lekhi, Congress veteran like Manish Tewari, Sanjay Jha and many more are stirring up a storm on Twitter.
With so much happening in the entertainment industry and social media about the General Election 2014, one wonders if this year it is the election of gimmicks and glitterati and if the color and gloss of these can fool the citizens of India and make them forget the real issues lurking in the Indian socio-political scenario and cast their vote simply on the basis of star power and glamour. Whether this star-studded affair brings desired results for the political parties of India or not, only time will say.
Ms. Nivedita Dey is a Post Graduate in English from Stella Maris College, Chennai and has been working in the films and television industry since 2006 as a story and script writer and creative consultant. Nivedita has written for TV programs for channels like Star Jalsha, Life OK, Star Plus, Channel 8 etc. Nivedita has spent quite a few years in Mumbai working in the entertainment Industry there and is currently based in Kolkata and is working as a writer and creative consultant for Kolkata’s leading Production House Shree Venkatesh Films.
Nivedita has keen interest in literature, cinema, social and political issues and enjoys expressing her views by way of guest blogs and articles in popular columns and web portals.