Bollywood may have played a central role in making Hindi a vibrant global language but film stars were deliberately kept away from the global Hindi meet in Johannesburg.
Organisers of the ninth World Hindi Convention, which ended Monday, said glamour would have taken over if stars like Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan, who have a worldwide following, had been invited. This would have derailed the agenda of the conference, an organiser told IANS.
The external affairs ministry, which works as a nodal agency for the annual meet, agreed.
Minister of state for external affairs Praneet Kaur said: "It is an established fact that Bollywood is playing a major role in spreading Hindi globally. But if cine stars are invited, then the real issues would be pushed back and the stars would become the star attraction. This is something the organisers would not like."
The minister added that the cost of bringing in stars was also a factor.
Another external affairs ministry official said as Hindi lovers, the actors were free to attend the conference.
Said senior film critic Ajay Brahatmaj: "Hindi has become a greater need for Bollywood as it provides them a global viewership. Almost all the stars of the Hindi film industry like to call the industry Bollywood, which is foreign terminology for us. How can they then feel emotionally attached to this platform? I don't feel inviting them will help in sorting out the real issues."
Sri Ramkripal Singh, editor of the Nav Bharat Times, disagreed.
"If Hindi is flourishing as a major contact language globally, credit goes to Bollywood. Bollywood stars should also be invited to make this platform more effective."