Posts Tagged ‘Jayanti’

What does the great gold obsession say about us?

5 November 2012

The Punjabification of southern celebrityhood attains new heights—or plumbs new depths—with each passing day. Notions of austerity and simple living and high thinking are passe; flaunt it if you have it is the new mantra as “stars” exploit every ounce of their stardom, or what is left of it, for a few rupees more.

With Deepavali round the corner, it is habba for filmi folk.

Three generations of actors—from left, Bharati VishnuvardhanTara, Jayanthi and Padmaja Rao—pose for the camerasat an antique jewellery mela as part of the Deepavali festival celebrations organised by a jewel firm in Bangalore on Monday. Like, celebrating the festival of lights with anything less is a crime.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: All that glitters is a gold scam about to burst?

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The commodification of women portfolio

RamyaOne more example of commodification of women

RamyaAnother example of commodification of women

Anu PrabhakarAnother example of commodification of examinations

RamyaLike, bombers get scared looking at bombshells?

RamyaNow, what will those fools do with these kids?

Aindrita RaySurely all that glitters is more than just gold

Jennifer KotwalThe best ice-candy melts before nice eye-candy

RamyaWhat it takes to smoothen some rough blades of grass

Nicole FariaDenims, diamonds, Miss India and the Mahatma

Priyanka TrivediSee, a brand ambassador always gets good press

RoopashreeObjects in the mirror are closer than they appear

Gul PanagYou are almost tempted to say ‘Intel Inside’

RamyaDon’t ask us what it is, but it sure costs a bomb

Mandira BediIt ain’t so easy to woo an iPhone4 user, sister

Tejaswini Prakash: As if we didn’t have traffic diversions already

Pooja Gandhi: Why Vodafone subscribers experience call drops

Raveena Tandon: From a flower of stones to a stone of flowers

Sameera Reddy: Finally, some ‘commodification’ we are OK with

The fault is not in our stars, but our film stars

5 May 2009

Why two of the southern States have had their political canvas consistently dotted by characters from cinema, while the rest of the Union have not, is one of the eternal mysteries of Indian politics. But that doesn’t stop bankrupt parties from trying to shine in the reflected glory of the stars.

On the strength of their recent legislative performance, T.J.S. George says box-office stardust as a ballot-box  commodity is quickly turning into dust.

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By T.J.S. GEORGE

Film stars caused their two-paise worth of nuisance in this election. A couple of them may win but it is clear that their appeal as netas is declining steadily.

MGR and NTR meant something in politics.

Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan meant nothing.

Star-MPs in the last Parliament in fact disgraced the parliamentary system itself. Govinda failure to attend even one session showed an attitude of contempt towards Parliament. Vinod Khanna, once trumpeted by the BJP, attended only 5.5 percent of the sittings. Dharmendra‘s score was 1.5 per cent.

If these guys are so high and mighty, why did they become MPs in the first place? The parties who sponsored them must be held accountable by the people who elected them.

In the South, things are somewhat better.

Actually, film stars turning to politics is a South Indian phenomenon, more specifically a Tamil phenomenon. The reasons are historical. Cinema became an integral part of the Dravida movement and therefore a serious player in politics. It was not a case of roping in pretty faces to get votes.

The anti-Brahmin movement had started earlier in Maharashtra under Jyotiba Phule. But it was Periyar Ramaswamy Naicker who gave it an ideological sweep and a cultural (Aryan-Dravidian) dimension. The revolution he wrought was turned by C.N. Annadurai into a solid political platform. Because Annadurai was the most brilliant film writer of his time, Tamil cinema became a political instrument.

Fascinating details of this union between politics and cinema are marshalled in History Through the Lens, a new book by the greatest living authority on Tamil cinema, S. Theodore Baskaran.

From the 1920s, he tells us, drama artistes were involved in the freedom struggle. In 1958 the legendary K.B. Sundrambal became India’s first film artiste to enter the legislature. After independence, film actors as a community, who had earlier been backing the cause of the Congress, moved on to support the Dravidian movement. The Congress never recovered from that.

Dravidian assertion over Brahmins did not develop in other South Indian states as intensively as it did in Tamil Nadu.

Something else happened in Andhra when that amateur Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, publicly humiliated the then chief minister of the state, T. Anjiah. It was an insult to Telugu pride, but neither Anjiah nor the Congress party was in a position to do anything about it. N.T Rama Rao rose to the occasion and rode to power on the plank of Telugu atmagauravam.

That was a spontaneous response to a moment of challenge. NTR did not have the intellectual resources to turn it into an ideological platform. Even in Tamil Nadu the inspirational pull of the Dravidian movement has lately been diluted by caste and sub-caste politics. Hence the ambivalence of wannabe netas like Rajnikanth and the uncertainties of fresh entrants like “Black MGR”, Vijaykanth.

In Andhra, Chiranjeevi has serious handicaps and dissensions in his personal circle, the absence of an ideological agenda. Whether he can do an NTR will depend on whether the people see him as a credible agent of change.

In Karnataka even a god-like figure like Raj Kumar kept out of politics. The most glamorous Kannada heroine of all time, Jayanti, was defeated by the most unglamorous opponent of all time, Ananth Kumar, in 2004.

Ambarish (in picture) is an exception that proves the rule that stars don’t shine in the politics of Karnataka. He is a strange exception the only minister in the Union Cabinet who never attended office.

That beats even Govinda.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News


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