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Can Bollywood & celebrities influence elections in India?

From Bollywood superstars to Olympic medallists or cricketers, there are several examples of celebrities using their name and fame to advance a political agenda.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: May 10, 2024, 05:58 AM - 4 mins read

Role of Bollywood and celebrities in the electoral space of India.

Can Bollywood & celebrities influence elections in India?

People stand in queue to cast ballots.


While the nation is participating in the biggest festival of democracy, Indian celebrities and Bollywood have consolidated their own positions in it.

 

Stars from the Indian film industry and politics are closely intertwined with each other. The relation has become so integral to the mainstream that from promoting democracy to advocating for a particular political party, or even running for election, celebrities have become a mainstay in Indian elections.

 

Whether it is Bollywood superstars, Olympic medallists or heroes from the cricket fraternity, there are several examples of celebrities using their name and fame to advance a political agenda.

 

Indian cinema has depicted politics in their outright fabricated manner with an emphasis on key events that have the capacity to influence public perception.

 

Filmmakers often try to justify their films that are influenced by political or historical events to be of human interest. However, its impact on the human psyche — whether or not it's deliberate — has several layers.

 

In 2019, investigative agency Cobrapost unveiled a report where it has alleged that film celebrities, musicians agree to promote political parties and narratives in exchange for a fee.

 

Some stars even go to the extent of signing dummy contracts to endorse products to disguise the original nature of any proxy political campaign— the agency’s sting operation, reportedly, suggested.

 

Instead of getting into the nuances of which political party/parties utilise the mechanism, it is imperative to delve into the impact the movie stars or cinema as a medium can have to put across a point in the three dimensional world.

 

Hence, one being an ambassador of democracy to another participating actively in politics by contesting polls come with its merits and demerits.

 

A role that celebrities play to encourage one to exercise their adult franchise is of paramount importance. They use their social media handles or participate in campaigns to create awareness among the local masses to cast their ballots.

 

While when they venture into the territory to land-up as people’s representatives, there are mixed perspectives on it.

 

The phenomenon of celebrities into politics began in the 1960s, Prithviraj Kapoor of the Bollywood’s Kapoor family was the first movie star to enter Parliament as a nominated member to the Rajya Sabha. Even Actor Amitabh Bachchan contested Lok Sabha polls in 1984 and won.

 

The most recent ones include Kangana Ranaut, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Yusuf Pathan, Arun Govil, Suresh Gopi, Paralympics player Devendra Jhajharia and others.

 

As far as changing the landscape of India's electoral game is concerned, there are people who get lured by celebrities' charming personalities and forget about other aspects while casting their ballot.

 

However, individuals getting educated with regards to every sphere of their existence, it is not just the charm but the capabilities of a candidate are also taken into consideration while making a choice. Otherwise, Bappi Lahiri, Mahesh Manjrekar, Ravi Kishan and others would not have lost to their political opponents.

 

The PR of a movie is done on the basis of what disappoints masses, and what they think about their elected representatives.

 

Indian movies talk about politics. However, it is essential to note that these portrayals often lean towards an agenda.

 

Political parties are unequivocally invested in the rise of celebrity politics. But, whether or not this can be viewed as an asset — it is for a campaign or political agenda — to our democracy at large is a concern that remains.

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