...and me writing about him, then read no further.
But he is lying. You want to know that, don’t you?
1984. Mr. B was campaigning for the Congress in Assam. The helicopter landed at the wrong destination. It belonged to the Opposition.
Don’t ask me how an area can belong to the Opposition and how on earth a politician canvasses only in his constituency.
“As I sat back in the plane, a young student broke the cordon, ran up to me, thrust his fist through the glass window and handed me a piece of paper. It read: ‘Mr Bachchan, I am a big fan of yours, but I am with the opposite party. Please leave this state, you are making life very difficult for me for I am torn between two desires’. I felt that for 25 years I had tried to woo my audience to love me as an artist, as an actor. And once I had accomplished that, I was now telling them to love my politics as well. Not acceptable to me...I was wrong. I was dividing my audience, my fans. I was asking them to sever a leg from their body and donate it to my party...My reticence towards politics is governed by that incident, and it is why I shall never ever go in that domain.’’
Did that student break the window? How was the actor making his life difficult? It is like saying a person cannot stay married because he likes Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt. Actors do ask people to love their other activities as well, which is why we have celebrity endorsements. Isn’t he worried about that? Why should a fan like some oil or chyawanprash if s/he likes him as an actor? The audience and the voters are not fools; they can see the difference. This is why not all actors are successful in politics. His dramabaazi is getting really bad…what is this about severing a leg and donating it? Kasai khana hai kya? Don’t people have minds and wasn’t he appealing to that?
His reticence is because of the scams he was caught up in, perhaps by default. If it was some student from Assam then he would not have called politics a cesspool. He would not have tried to get his PR machinery go full throttle to do damage control.
And I know what I am talking about. The day one of my articles appeared on him with a reference to Bofors, his PRO landed up at the office. The next issue had a cover story on him, a nice laudatory account.