A handful of Bollywood celebrities choosing to attend an award ceremony in Florida, USA, over exercising their voting right may not look like a big deal, considering that 47 per cent of Mumbaikars chose to stay away from the booths along with them. But in a nation of hero worship, these Hindi film personalities are not your ordinary men or women.
There are millions in this country who swear by their favourite film stars, emulating them in every way possible. The flippancy with which some of these celebrities treat their duties was reflected in Anupam Kher’s comment, when he said: ‘My wife Kirron and son Sikandar will be there during the elections.
I am yet to take a call on this (voting).’ Ironically, Kher is an avid social media activist, who never lets go of a chance to rue political proceedings — in the virtual world, of course. Even from USA, Kher spoke about how there was need for change in the political system. It is easy to complain about things and leave it to others to fix. Kher’s wife Kirron is representing the BJP in Chandigarh.
The other shocker came in the form of social crusaders Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi. Akhtar, who also happens to be a Rajya Sabha MP, said simply that it was unfortunate that he had to be away from Mumbai, but maintained that he and his wife had committed to IIFA months ago, while the election date was announced later.
Considering that the poll date was announced a few months ago, would it have been so difficult for the Bollywood personalities to request the IIFA organisers to move their dates, or perhaps fly out after voting, like Akhtar’s son Farhan chose to do, instead of doing so on the previous night?
Anil Kapoor, in an unconvincing defence, said that he wanted e-voting to be introduced. It is still difficult to believe that these celebrities couldn’t get together and work out a solution that would allow them to show respect to the democratic process. With power comes responsibility. But clearly, our actors and actresses feel they are above such simple truths.