Duplicates in demand for campaigning
The film and cricket personalities are very high on popularity chart but when originals shy away from politicas it is the duplicates who are used by parties to attract crowds.
In a world full of duplicates where one has to be careful to spot an original, this variety of 'duplicates' is in great demand especially from political parties wanting to add colour to their campaigning at an affordable price.
The whose-who of film and cricket world rate very high on popularity chart and have a magnetic crowd pulling capacity. But, they may not be willing to enter the political circus. Hence their 'human copy' seems to be a more cost-effective and easier route.
And there is no dearth of them in Election 2004.
From duplicates of popular actors like Anil Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Johnny Lever, Rajesh Khanna, Saif Ali Khan, Arbaaz Khan to the look-alike of cricketer Virender Sehwag and 'human copy' of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have been roped in for campaigning, romancing and wooing the crowds.
"We worship Bollywood and cricket personalities in India and political parties are trying to cash on this. By presenting duplicates of actors or cricketers at their election rallies the parties hope to draw in huge crowds," says VN Vasanti, Director, Centre for Media Studies.
"It has been observed on several occasions that in mass rallies the voter is not able to make out the difference between the duplicate and the original star. This is more so in rural areas. And our political parties have no qualms in hoodwinking the public this way," says Dr Monica Chibb, a leading psychologist.
In fact the big names often shun trips to rural areas. So these look-alikes are handy and cost-effective in countryside, where the original star has never once made an appearance. Also the villagers are very susceptible to film personalities.
The duplicate generally imitates a famous one-liner of the original actor and the crowd bursts into clapping and hooting. "Our studies have shown that popularity graph of a political party rises when film personalities having mass appeal lend it support. The purpose of using the look-alikes is to grab attention and 'attention ke liye kuch bhi karega.' But, how far the duplicates are successful in re-creating the charm of the original star is yet to be seen," adds Vasanti.