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Monday, January 05, 2009

Chiranjeevi, Prajarajyam and public

Statutory disclaimer: eNidhi India is politically neutral and this post not intend to support/criticize any political party or politician. It just shares writer’s observations and readers are requested to use their discretion

We entered Venkatagiri town (in Nellore district of AP, some 38 kms from Naidupet) on Saturday afternoon and the town was flooding with banners of Praja Rajyam, the recently floated political party of Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi. We didn’t give it much importance and went ahead with our trekking plans. The situation was much more aggressive while we were returning back on Sunday evening.
We learnt from locals of Venkatagiri that their favorite Chiranjeevigaru would be visiting their town for the first time ever that evening (4th Jan 2009). The entire town was on the streets to welcome him-there was still some time before his arrival, so we could manage to drive our cars out of town, had it been 30 min late, we would probably be stuck inside Venkatagiri town for few hours. We stopped at one point where we struck a conversation (with our broken telugu) with the local youth who were holding a party flag in their hand and were visibly over excited. Not just the youth, even old age men and women were also on the streets. As I took out my camera, the group asked me: Photo or video? And before I could respond, they shouted several non-stop slogans and dialogues in support of the visiting mega star and his party. Once they finally stopped, the old man continued explaining how great Chiranjeevi is and more. The essence of his talk, as I could interpret was that everyone in the town have lots of Abhimanan (respect) towards the megastar and they’re waiting to get a glimpse of him. The youth told me that they are on the streets since 2 PM (ETA-Estimated Time of Arrival of Chiranjeevi was in the evening- 7 or 8 PM). I asked if he is being paid any dabbu (money) for his efforts- he said “first time kada, emi Dabbu lEdu” (telugu for: since it is the first time for this party, we’ve not been paid any money) So most of them were volunteering and probably expected good remuneration once party grows politically strong and ‘revenues’ start coming in. A police jeep patrolled at high speed, with siren ON, as we spoke this.
There’s no specific answer why they’re so crazy about one individual. Most appropriate answer could be “because of the same reason my Tamilians are crazy about Rajanikant or Hindi viewers are crazy about Big B and SRK” From someone who did stunts and miracles on screen, probably they expect some similar results in real life too. An educated and sensible man may probably value these icons for their real worth and capabilities, but majority of the public gives them a near God status. May be hoping these stars to play god is probably the best thing people can hope for…

We drove further, had tea near Railway station and crossed the gate (which marked entrance to the town and had a huge gathering, with one individual who madly started dancing in front of our car, before being pulled aside by a fellow person (who looked authoritative with a car key in his hand) who made way for our car and the bus behind us.
Just as we crossed the main entrance of Venkatagiri town, 7 PM approx, megastar’s Motorcade came in from the opposite direction. I believe he was in an over-decorated bus, sitting inside (as they were outside city he wasn’t standing and waving I suppose). A truck was deployed right in front of his vehicle which carried a series of floodlights, powered by a generator to illuminate the megastar and his vehicle. Before I could identify the right vehicle and focus my camera they were gone. Loud music started as soon as his convoy neared the entrance and it took another 10-15 minutes for all vehicles in his convoy to pass. We didn’t see him, though he passed in front of us. (no regrets on that front, though I wouldn’t have minded a photograph)

As we left Venkatagiri and headed off towards Naidupet, a bus stopped infront of us to offload some passengers- a middle aged gentleman, who’d just got down, suddenly shouted a slogan on Prajarajyam, at the top of his voice, in the middle of nowhere, on seeing our convoy of cars. If you like a person, want to vote for him fine-what is the need to shout and dance to express that ‘joy’? anyway… I had the temptation of shouting ‘TDP’ or ‘Congress’ or ‘BJP’ and just see how he reacts-but if I do that, then what will be the difference between us?

I later read in newspaper [the Hindu report] that in his talk Chiranjeevi blamed congress for trying to suppress his party and requested people to give his party “one chance”. A typical political speech. AP assembly elections are due in few more months and time will tell how effective Chiru and his party will be.
Film actors entering politics to encash their popularity for power is not new. Only our Kannada matinee idol Dr.Rajkumar stood as an exemplary exception. Talks are ripe about Tamil Superstar Rajanikanth’s political debut. Several Kannada heros- Anant Nag, Ambarish, Dwarakish have entered assembly but I am not aware of any exemplary thing they did after joining politics. Hindi kingpin Big B has been associated with a particular party, canvassing for them. Probably politics is the best place for them after they grow old and can’t act in movies. How many will retain their integrity by not getting corrupt because of power is quite a debatable topic. Another argument is that if they want to serve the society they can do it without entering politics or at least, without any show-offs and fanfare-but who will listen to that?

Note: above experience will be same irrespective of the party, anywhere in India-not to be mistaken as an isolated incident.

Photos of Venkatagiri trek * Banner mania *

8 comments :

Raveesh Kumar said...

Hi Nidhi,

It's not true that "Hindi kingpin AB hasn’t contested election himself". In fact, Amitabh Bachchan had contested elections from Allahabad, defeated ex CM of UP and was a MP for 3 years (1984-87).

Raveesh

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks for that info Raveesh.. I wasn't aware of that...

Mohan said...

At least on the out set Chiranjeevi looks like a honest and humble person who is really striving to bring in the change. These are only the beliefs until he does something really effective on the ground. He has been promising to end an era of corrupt officials and politicians.

However, the question remains is will he really do that? I doubt so, because he has been busy including the party hoppers into his party off late. If he is going to get all those hoppers, the same old corrupt people and society will continue to exist!

Radhika Ganesan said...

I don't have anything against Chiranjeevi, Rajni, AB or any actor , but i guess they should stay back home after their film careers. As you said if you want to do any thing in "Jan Hith" (Welfare) please take other means to do so!
I would appreciate if Indian Politician have experience as a lawyer, or soldier, or diplomat etc. like that in US rather than a film actor (who always appear good, but i am skeptical about their actions !) or a criminal/indicted person.
I had visited Tirupathi this august and the car driver seemed to be a Chiranjeevi fan and would have used all possible good adjectives for him . He was apotheosizing chiranjeevi !
I hope Rajni doesn't become a politician. If he becomes one , conducting elections would be waste of time of people,waste of money . Why bother everybody when the everybody knows who the winner is going to be?

Sandesh said...

Fanatics n lunatics cannot be controlled. Expecting decency outa them is something what i dont do.

Its the same. May be this time, they havent payed them for his filmdom popularity but the next, i guess the people demand. It will be another party like Devegowda's Janata Dala (Secular) and he would be another DG or NTR for that matter.

People, expecting filmstars to bring a change, vote for him once, twice if he is lucky but would make him taste defeat in future. Many examples from KFI are Shashi Kumar, Ambarish, Jaggesh, AnanthNag...

You say abt retaining integrity, I dont think they are integral themselves, they're just another mortal on this planet and they do have their selfish wishes.

As you said, if they're so interested in bringing a change, they would do it without entering politics.

Vinu said...

Nidhi...you must write something about whats happening in Satyam.

Sandesh said...

@ Vinu - That would be slightly unethical. if you're so keen abt that, you can get updates from him thru mails not blogs. That would be a bit harsh on his part to blog out the issues.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Mohan

Thanks for that additional information. Doesn't look much promising to me...

@Radhika

Hmm, but there is also a saying that we need to get into the system to correct it. If we shy away from politics, who will fix it? It is essential that right people enter politics and fix it, but are we selecting the right people or do we have an environment where right people feel motivated to enter politics, is the question...

@ Sandesh
Yes..

@Vinu, I don't have any info that I can give or am authorized to give. Hence no comments at this moment. Media is doing everything to keep the frenzy on, though no one have clear clarity on exact state of affairs. it would be better to wait for sometime for more clarity to unfold, before starting analysis or reaching conclusions.

@Sandesh Thanks, but I believe I'm free to analyze any information available in public domain- its little early to analyze this as everyone are watching with a big question what next... I've analyzed the rumor of IBM satyam acquisition 2 years back...