One look at Shashi Tharoor and his good looks makes you wonder whether he should be working in movies instead of dabbling in politics. And it wasn’t a surprise – speaking exclusively to us while promoting his new book when he causally mentions that several film offers have come his way. The Member of Parliament further reveals that he was recently offered a “small but significant” role in a soon-to-release Bollywood film produced under a big banner.
The 56-year-old former UN diplomat added that it’s not just Bollywood filmmakers who have shown interest. “I’m getting offers from Malayalam directors as well. They offered me a cameo role playing the Foreign Minister of India but I declined. It’s nice to know that I’m getting these offers in my old age,” he laughs.
While most people would have jumped at the offer, the bureaucrat-turned-politician feels it would have created unnecessary controversies. Tharoor adds, “Given our ‘wonderful’ media environment where anything you do is liable to be misrepresented, I simply want to focus on being an effective constituent MP and a serious voice in our national discussions.”
Turns out during his younger days he showed promises of becoming an actor someday but he never really wanted to make a career in the B-Town. “I was a theatre actor in my early days but I never wanted to do it full-time. I won all the Best Actor’s awards during my three years at Campion in Bombay. I was also given lots of lead roles at St Stephen’s in Delhi and so on. It was a wonderful and fun thing to do,” Tharoor sums up.
Tharoor believes that Bollywood is a global phenomenon, as its fans include not just the Indian diaspora. He cites an example too: “There is a village woman in Senegal who is illiterate and takes a bus every month to Dakar, the capital city, to watch a Bollywood movie.
Obviously, she can’t understand the dialogues. She can’t read the French subtitles either. But the movies are made to be understood despite such handicaps. She loves the singing, dancing and action. The story is understood and she goes home with stars in her eyes about India and its culture.” Such is the magic of Bollywood!