Amitabh Bachchan and politics of celebrity
Amitabh Bachchan is caught in a political controversy yet again. The 67-year old-actor finds himself in the middle of a row over his presence at government functions in Mumbai and Pune.
While no official reason has been given, Bachchan’s presence at a government function in Mumbai last week has raised hackles in the Congress party, ostensibly because of Bachchan’s bitter relationship with the Gandhi family.
Later the same week, his son Abhishek’s posters were removed from an Earth Day function for which he had earlier been declared ambassador, organised by the Congress-run Delhi state government.
On Monday, the Congress party criticised Bachchan for being a brand ambassador for the state of Gujarat, whose chief minister has not been able to shake off the stigma of the infamous 2002 riots.
And Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan avoided the star at a Marathi convention, choosing instead to attend a day before Bachchan’s arrival.
“Am I hallucinating, or is there a pattern in all this!!!??” Bachchan wrote on his blog on Saturday.
Those who have followed Bachchan, or for that matter, the Gandhis closely may know of the bitter rift between the two once close families.
So for the Congress to shun the star seems to follow naturally. This is also not the first political party with which Bachchan has clashed.
Whether it was his campaign for the Uttar Pradesh government, his relationship with Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray or the MNS’s violent reaction to his statements, the star has always had an uneasy relationship with the political establishment of the country.
Bachchan’s closeness to former Congress ally Amar Singh and now to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is also a matter of much conjecture within political circles.
But many are questioning whether it is valid for a political party to question an individual’s choice of friends, or whether Bachchan himself has shifted loyalties once too often.
What do you think? Has the Congress gone too far in “banning” Amitabh Bachchan and his family?