Film and Politics, Past and Present News Items

One news item that calls back to a past stand that the industry took in politics, and one item is a stand taken today.  Really interesting to think about how things change and how they stay the same.

The biggest way they stay the same is that the Indian actors feel a bigger responsibility to stand up and say something, and that they can (theoretically, these things are hard to measure) have a bigger effect when they do.

So, old school time, Sunil Dutt was a respected actor and producer in the industry, who tended to work on films that had a social message, he didn’t just want to entertain, he watned to do good.  And he wanted to do it even beyond the films, joining politics and becoming a respected Statesman.  Not a politician, not someone who followed the partyline all the time or had his hand out for bribes.  But someone who stayed independent and followed his own mind.  Okay, yes, he was also closely tied to Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi family, but I haven’t heard any stories that make me think he followed them because of political expediency, not because of a sincere belief in their leadership.

This is why his character is so hard to cast in the Sanjay Dutt biopic.  Not because of his status in the film industry, but because his status as a public servant.  You can’t cast anyone with any controversies, with any sense of weakness or failure.  You can’t cast anyone who might insult his memory in some way.  Aamir was briefly considered, if you remember, because it would be a role worthy of his stardom and acting ability.  But it would have been a terrible casting decision, because Aamir’s controversies and so on would have clouded the portrayal.  So instead….Jackie Shroff!  Everyone loves him, he’s been around forever, and no one has ever said a bad word about him.  Heck, I love Jackie!  And I’m kind of excited to see him play opposite Ranbir.


So, that’s old school, Sunil Dutt being a noble artist and statesman.  What’s happening present day?  Well, present day, the fans that the movie stars feel responsible for aren’t just in India.  And the things they can do as independent stars are a lot more than what they could do if they officially joined politics.  Which brings me to Salman’s twitter this morning.


I don’t know, maybe he wasn’t really thinking about it.  Maybe it was just a random thing that some friend asked him to do and he thought “Why not?”, no more than when he tweets a message about a friend DJing at a club or whatever.  But, as someone in America right now who is white-knuckling it through the last few days of this election, it really meant a lot to me!  That Salman is thinking about us and reaching out and joining in a fight that he doesn’t have to join.


(by the way, if you are also an American white-knuckling it through the last few days, here is a link to sign up to make phone calls from home.  Easy, pleasant, and makes you feel like you are doing something

6 thoughts on “Film and Politics, Past and Present News Items

  1. Salman surprises me, again. In a good way.

    He makes such a nice, simple statement. No demands, no challenges, no insults — just hope and a blessing.

    My hands remain clenched in stress, making my knuckles white, but it’s great to know a guy on the other side of the world is thinking about the folks in the U.S. and the future of the world.


  2. I hope you won’t be too disappointed if I say it’s highly probable that Salman didn’t write that tweet. The style of it & its vocabulary make me think it’s written by his assistant Hiral. He may or may not be aware of it, and may or may not agree with it. It also appeared on his Facebook account, too (all his tweets do).

    As for the Sunil Dutt casting, if you demand an actor with “no controversies”, the role would remain uncast! Jackie Shroff has his share of controversies. But it’s interesting that he seems to have become the go to guy for father roles these days.


  3. If Aamir was cast instead of Jackie, he’d have insisted on being given as much(or more) screen space as Ranbir.Jackie is not in a position to insist that.And much as I like him, he isn’t as good an actor as Aamir.As for Salman, just when you dismiss him as a bad boy, he does something thoughtful like this.A lot of Indians(not only NRIs) share his sentiments.So the tweet made sense.He was in fact acting as an unofficial spokesman, considering that the people in charge can’t officially comment on this, whatever may be their personal inclinations.


    • You could also say that it’s a sign of how close he is to his base, then. Aware of the sentiments of his fans at home and abroad, maybe to a greater or equal degree than the politicians.


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