Celeb season in politics takes off with Sanjay ‘Munnabhai’ Dutt going to Durban to share a platform with the African National Congress, and Katrina Kaif about to dip a dainty toe into affairs of the state by campaigning for Prakash Jha. South Africa turned the young lawyer Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi into the leader he later became. Sanjay, a fledgling politician here, is billed there as a ‘comrade’ for the Gandhigiri wave he brought into 21st century India through Lage Raho Munnabhai. He flies out today.
“He has been personally invited by ANC president Jacob Zuma for an election rally in the huge Indian township of Chatsworth,” says Dharam Oberoi of Sanjay Dutt Productions. “When Sanjay heard how popular the Munnabhai character was in that place, he was eager to be a part of this campaign.” The itinerary includes a visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Settlement at Phoenix, where the community centre and school started by Gandhi are still in operation.
One interesting point: the ANC has had very close ties with the Congress over the years, and the actor recently spurned his father’s party to join the Samajwadi Party.
‘Not playing Sonia’
Meanwhile, Katrina Kaif, who plays the lead in Prakash Jha’s Rajneeti, insists her role is not modelled on Sonia Gandhi. “My character goes through life-changing events and learns from every experience. She’s not inspired by Sonia Gandhi. You can draw parallels with so many others,” says Kat.
Jha is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Bettiah, Bihar. He is taking time out of his film shoot to canvass for votes. And Katrina, who has been drawing huge crowds on the locations, will be roped in. A source says, “People travel long distances to come and see her. If she campaigns for Jha, it will definitely add glamour to the campaign.”
Agencies, Inputs from Princy Jain and Hiren Kotwani