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Stars get 'foot in mouth'

PTI | ByJaideep Mazumdar, Kolkata
May 05, 2004 10:33 AM IST

Politicians are superb actors. But the converse isn't necessarily true from the evidence of this election with the actors-turned-contestants blurting out senseless comments at rallies.

Politicians are superb actors, this bit we know. But the converse isn't necessarily true from the evidence of this election.

HT Image
HT Image

Take Indira Mukherjee, a.k.a. Mousumi Chatterjee, former Bollywood leading lady and current Congress candidate from Kolkata North-East. At a Muslim-dominated locality in her constituency she told her audience: "Most of you have not been able to complete school like me. If you elect me I will ensure schooling for everyone."

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Once she leaves the venue in her Toyota Qualis, an aide gently tells her that she may have offended the Muslims: they dropped out because of poverty; she, to join films. Mousumi will have none of that: "This is how one connects with people — find something in common and speak about it," she says.

She's been accused of being a political novice, so at another meeting she attempts a rebuttal. "I have a long association with politics. I went to Parliament as a child with my aunt and enjoyed the debates," she tells a group of educated, middle-class Bengalis at Manicktala's Gobinda Das Lane. They start sniggering. "If that's called political experience, we should call ourselves seasoned politicians," laughs Pradip Ghoshal, a small-time Congressman.

Mousumi's contemporary Hema Malini visited Khera (a prosperous Gujarati town with every kind of car in it) and said she didn't see any tongas there and that Basanti (sorry, Hema Malini) would do her best to correct this unhappy situation.

Away in south Delhi, Congress candidate RK Anand didn't know where to look when campaigner Shakti Kapoor twisted a line from Sholay  (a film he thankfully was not in) to attack the BJP's VK Malhotra: "Malhotra ki shakal itni daravni hai ki jab baccho ko neend nahi aati to maa kehti hai so jao nahi to Malhotra aa jayega".

(With inputs from HTCs Mumbai/Delhi)

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