A few years ago, people would have to wait at the gates of a movie theatre running premiere shows to catch a glimpse of a Tollywood star. Now, they can just head straight to a Trinamool Congress election campaign or a road show, where a galaxy of stars can be often seen seeking votes for the ruling party.
It’s a virtual roll call of Tollywood. TMC already has a list of stars as public representatives -- silver screen hero Dipak Adhikary alias Dev, actresses Satabdi Roy, Moon Moon Sen and Sandhya Roy as MPs, theatre and film personality Bratya Basu as a minister, and actors Chiranjit, Naina Bandyopadhyay and Debashree Roy as MLAs. Mithun Chakraborty was the party’s Rajya Sabha MP till a few months ago when he resigned.
Tapas Pal, who is a veteran actor from Tollywood and the Lok Sabha MP from Krishnagar has been kept out from the campaign as he is still associated in public memory with a hate speech delivered in mid 2014.
Mamata Banerjee also persuaded actor of yesteryears, Biswajit Chatterjee, to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on Trinamool Congress ticket from Delhi.
But the party seemingly does not want to stop here. It has fielded another popular Tollywood actor Soham Chakraborty from Barjora constituency in Bankura district and playback singer Indranil Sen from Chandernagore in Hooghly, and re-nominated Chiranjeet Bandyopadhyay and Roy.
This is in sharp contrast to the support that actor-turned-BJP candidates Rupa Ganguly and Locket Chatterjee are getting from their colleagues in Tollywood. Besides the two stars, BJP has also fielded popular television faces Kaushik Chakraborty and Suman Banerjee.
Apart from singer-turned-Asansol MP and Union minister of state for urban development, Babul Supriyo, virtually no one is campaigning for these leaders of the Bengal BJP.
“You won’t get to work in the Tollygunge film and TV industry if you campaign against the Trinamool,” Chatterjee said.