Star-studded poll campaign in offing A few days after Y S Rajasekhara Reddy came to the chief minister’s gaddi, a Tollywood delegation sought to meet him. YSR gave time to the delegation -led by Chiranjeevi - but within a minute of their calling on, the new chief minister started looking at his watch. This kept the visitors on the edge of the chair but was a deliberate signalling by YSR because he was pretty miffed with the film czars. Not surprising, because practically the entire film fraternity had rooted for Chandrababu Naidu in the 2004 elections.
Five years later, it is election time again and although Chiranjeevi is in a different league -because he is contesting the elections on his own- the rest of them are again making the mistake of rooting for one political party or the other.
“Most of them have no political sense yet jump into the fray to contest election or support some political party or the other. But I doubt whether they actually brighten the chances of any candidate,” says a film analyst who would rather not be named. “ Glamour does not matter. It is the wave which does,” says Aswini Dutt who contested the last Lok Sabha polls and lost from Vijayawada on a TDP ticket.
Since the Congress is in power, most of the stars will root for that party this time around and among those who are expected to campaign are actor Nagarjuna, film producer Rama Naidu and heroine of yesteryears Jayasudha. The husband-wife duo of Rajasekhar and Jeevitha have also joined the Congress party. Actors of the yesteryears Krishna and his son Mahesh Babu are also likely to turn up for the ruling party. Others are also expected to enter the campaign trail in the coming days, though the Telugu Desam will have its own share of cine glamour- courtesy the family of the founder of the party. Many of them will stand for elections too.
“It is unfair to blame us for entering the campaign trail. Films and politics are inexorably mixed in south India. Most of us are forced by the party in power to come out in their favour,” a film personality says. He, of course, forgets to add that many of the filmi personalities fall for the pressure from the ruling party because they have taken big favours for them. For instance Nagarjuja is expected to come out in favour of the ruling party because of his family owned Annapurna Studios on a huge tract of land in Jubilee Hills which the government has allowed for commercial exploitation. Simialrly Rama Naidu -who contested the last elections on a TDP ticket - cannot say no to the ruling party because of hill top land adjacent to the sea in Vizag where his studio is coming up.
“Film glamour most certainly does not work always. N T Rama Rao himself suffered defeat. Several stars in the previous elections also lost,” said well-known producer C Kalyan.
“Film stars can pull crowds but people are intelligent and are no longer carried away by glamour. Nowadays, filmstars cannot take victory for granted just because of filmi popularity,” said G Viswanath, former president of A P Film Chamber of Commerce