A trend seems to be arriving from India and it’s not a good one. The relationship between Bollywood and politics has always been complex. Though arts, culture and cinema should be beyond politics; the political scenario in India is very connected with Bollywood.
The mix of Bollywood and politics has finally hit a home run with the 9 January, ‘New Age Friendship’ concert tour. The Gupta’s have introduced our President Zuma to the strategy that has led to some very historical political changes in India.
In a country like ours, South Africa is home to more than a million South Africans of Indian descent and the largest population of Indians out of India. That’s what makes it so attractive. Masked as a concert of note with the likes of Shah Rukh, Shahid Kapoor, Anil ‘Mr India’ Kapoor and a string of other fairer halves it was seriously a rally, an ANC rally to be more specific.
Like we had subliminal advertising as a threat to consumers, our friends at New Age have clearly used an old trick just with a bit of Bollywood. And the truth is that it worked!
I agree with Sukethu Mehta, who mentions in his book ‘ Maximum City’ about Bal-Thackeray, a Godfather-like founder of the Hindu nationalist Shiv Sena party, as “the one man most directly responsible for ruining the city I grew up in ( Bombay)” ; I think he can also be called the puppeteer who is demeaning the Bollywood actors and film makers to puppets , unbecoming to the creative artists and the art.
And, true to the statement above it has somewhat materialized here in the New Age Friendship concert. Our national cricket stars, the new tween group ‘Locnville’ and others have been chained in to entertain the masses whether they are in support of the ruling party or not. ‘Locnville’ are just too immature to understand the mix yet.
What would have happened if cricketer Theron had to voice his opinion and share his sentiment that he does not support the ANC and with that he would not partake in the antics on stage at the ‘rally concert’?
Hashim Amla for instance stood by his values as a person and refused to brand a liquor company although they were a sponsor and eventually he had them subdued. Sri Lanka protested against the IIFA awards and it left an impact.
As for Shah Rukh Khan and the other Bollywood stars, you were clearly paid to do your job. No matter what the state of affairs are here in SA, I would advise you to stay in India and rather not try and influence political shi(f)ts here in SA under the guise of New Age Friendship concert.
Either come down to entertain only or not bother to come down here at all. I do not understand what Claudia Henkel was trying to attempt on stage but it remained just unimportant and a bother to the audience.
Bollywood’s tryst has been chequered so far as we have witnessed and I seem to wonder if at all this might just work here in South Africa?
Will others from Bollywood take a similar stand? Why should the entertainment industry be subjugated by politics? Why are Bollywood actors and filmmakers forgetting their charismatic strengths? Why cannot Bollywood actors stand up to being hero’s in real life not just in movies?
To Mr Gupta, Jai Ho to you for bringing down Bollitics to South Africa and to the masses who attended and watched. Who are you planning to vote for now?