Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bollywood Politics

When asked by a DC friend how the China-Tibet issues were surfacing in India, I had to reply that I hadn't heard much about it recently, as the news has been dominated by far more important issues. Bizarrely, the quibbles between Bollywood and local regional politicians is more news-worthy than Chinese incursions and draconian actions against peace-loving people in Tibet. For example, in the past weeks, news has been drowned in the absurd dialogue between fringe-party Shiv Sena ("Shiva's army") and Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackery of Bombay claims that the superstar, originally from Uttar Pradesh (UP) but made a star in Maharashtra, hasn't done enough for the state that brought him riches.

At the same time as Bachchan is derided by a xenophobic regional leader for his dismissal of Maharashtran issues, another Tollywood (not Bollywood) superstar from Karnataka, a ridiculous Sly Stone action hero named Rajinikanth, has been lionized by Thackery for his commitment to Tamil Nadu on issues related to local water. Despite his roots in Karnataka, Rajinikanth's siding with Tamil Nadu (TN) is precedent for Thackery's absurd public excoriation of Bachchan. It amazes me that this news eclipses neighboring China's aggressive measures just North of the Indian border. But when it comes to Bollywood and Cricket, the sub-continental notion is clearly "do not disturb."