The changes that are being implemented in our country have witnessed the most coverage through social media platforms. This is mostly because celebrities are coming out of their cocoons and making their voices and opinions heard. Superstars and their political activism can sometimes be misunderstood as a means for furthering their own careers and remaining as people of power rather than people of power looking out for those with none. The reason for this being-our country has witnessed many celebrities who have gained a household name via the film industry-branch out into politics. How much more power do they expect to gain? Can the voices of these celebrities make a difference, politically?
For example, Tollywood actor Pawan Kalyan, has followed the footsteps of his elder brother, also an actor Chiranjeevi and ventured into politics as the chief for the Jena Sena party. Both the actors have vowed not to act in movies to be taken as serious politicians. While Chiranjeevi’s political career was short-lived and he was welcomed back to the comforts of making movies, his younger brother is now making alliances between Jena Sena and the BJP. Despite his fame and well-acclaimed fan base in Andhra Pradesh, Pawan Kalyan did not receive many votes during the elections that took place last year.
The topic of Celebrity-political activism or ‘political star power’ as Wikipedia defines it, is very debatable among various generations. It is the idea that celebrities or in today’s scenario- social media influencers; use their status and extensive outreach to influence and put forth certain political ideologies or make known the political issues. Some see it as a good thing, influential people taking a stand and speaking out against prevalent injustices, whereas other believe that celebrities such as film stars should focus on what they do best- acting and pretending to be living in an all-perfect world! Though it is a minority who strongly believe that politicians and actors are the same, it is time for the influential crowd favourites to step up.
However, there has been a change in the way that celebrities speak up, yet we are not willing to always accept it. When actress Deepika Padukone, made her appearance at JNU some appreciated her willingness in being there, while others believed her motive was to promote her latest movie.
Speaking out seems not just more reasonable, but necessary as things feel uncertain and acutely terrifying right now. So many people are speaking out urgently about politics at this moment; when celebrities speak up, it doesn’t necessarily look like a PR for movies. Since politics is a vast topic that cannot be discussed without taking sides(initially celebrities were inclined towards taking up the politically correct or the popular opinion), the public needs to identify truth before they follow the celebrities blindly.
Actresses like Swara Baskar have taken a stand to speak –up fearlessly against the injustices we as citizens face. Others have made their presence known by attending protests and standing with the people. It is safe to say that political activism should change into social activism that unifies people and makes a lasting impact on society. If you have a voice, you have a responsibility to use now more than ever.
What was once “political” is now natural. People want celebrities to embrace their platforms; the public will not tolerate members of a robust, important industry ignoring the reality of the political situation.