Sting Exposes Bollywood Deal With the Devilby Opinion Express February 21, 2019 0 comments
A marriage of convenience has ensued between Politics and Bollywood ever since the business of ruling over the mass consciousness and creating a narrative wave became profitable. And no political party, be it the Congress and the BJP at the national level, or the regional parties, has been immune to fronting them for some shiny piece of propaganda. Of course, much water has flowed from when parties sought the help of celebrities during campaigning to draw in the crowd, using them to publicise social welfare programmes or including these ideas in nation-building films to now giving them party tickets and on them winning, gifting bonafide Ministries. Of course, everybody leverages celebrities to galvanise support and grab eyeballs. Or as someone like George Clooney said while working assiduously on the genocide in Darfur, “Celebrities can help focus news media where they have abdicated their responsibility. We can’t make policy, but we can ‘encourage’ politicians more than ever before.” But if a latest sting operation is to be believed, then more than 30 Bollywood celebrities, including biggies like Jackie Shroff, Kailash Kher and Vivek Oberoi, have allegedly been caught on camera for agreeing to promote not only the agenda of parties on social media platforms but even make controversial and inflammatory posts on their social media handles in exchange for money ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and create a certain environment. Quite the polar opposite of the ambassadorial role that Clooney has mentioned about.
The celebrities, most of them second rung TV and film stars, agreed to tweet content on various issues to be provided to them before posting the same on their social media handles and make it look as their own. And given the fan following of even TV stars in a flat world these days, the hit value is a harvestable option for marketers. The sting showed how they would allegedly defend the government even on controversial issues and fatal accidents such as bridge collapses. They were even willing to sign a dummy contract for endorsement of products to disguise the real nature of the proxy political campaigning that they were willing to do. Not only that, while some agreed to share their PAN number and banking details, most preferred cash, clearly oblivious of the efficacy of digital India or black money-free drives. The fees have been astounding too, from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 50 lakh per message, going up to Rs 20 crore for an eight-month contract. There is nothing wrong in getting paid for endorsement but getting paid to endorse mindlessly and without a conscience is a new low. And while fans on social media, post the expose, commended Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi and Raza Murad, for not falling into the trap, fact is being on the right path is not about heroism at all, it is the most normal reaction to be expected of celebrities, who are making easier money these days through endorsements, live shows, writing books and delivering lectures on life lessons. The trouble with Bollywood is that it has, by virtue of many allied businesses of its leading lights in such diverse areas as sports, begun to believe it can influence policy in every sphere. But the fact is if we use them as sources of insight on political issues, then we are more likely to be misled than finding the truth. Hopefully, the Indian voter is still mature enough to see through such orchestrated shenanigans.
Courtesy & Writer: Pioneer