It’s very unlikely that you’ll have a favorite politician for whom you’ll wake up, dress up, and show up at 4 am in the morning - but if you have a favourite actor, all that seems like hardly an effort! On this podcast we’re going to be talking about the biggest crossovers from entertainment to politics - actors, directors, musicians, anybody famous who thought hey, let me see if people will turn up for me!
The President of the United states of America but the most entertaining one. From being a business tycoon, to dabbling in entertainment, owning the Miss America pageant from 1996, all the way till 2015, hosting the Apprentice, he had to give all that up when he decided to run for President. The whole world thought it was a joke when he said he wanted to sit at the White House! But here he is, battling the ‘fake news’ media, as he likes to call them, and every other day there’s news of him about to be impeached but he sails through it all! But whether it’s his TV show or the White House - his favourite activity is still firing people!
The ultimate Superstar - has more than 50,000 fan clubs, fans all across the world and for some weird reason really popular in Japan! With hundreds of super hit movies to his credit, and at the age of 68, still having the ability to draw crowds to the theatres, it was no surprise that he decided to enter politics after years and years of speculation. He started his press conference with ‘romba build-up acchille?’ meaning, hasn’t there been too much build-up? He hasn’t been very politically active in the last one year, and there’s just a couple of months left for the assembly elections so we just have to see who he’s going to side with. Whoever it is, will easily get a few lakh votes if Rajni just asks his fans to!
Clint Eastwood has made some really iconic movies - both as an actor as well as a director. But one of the weirdest things he had to do as a politician was to bring back ice-cream trucks on pavements. He had always had very strong political views - be it on gun control, or same-sex marriages. Some of his movies were also thought to be political propaganda. So when he took office as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-sea in California, he took efforts to support small businesses although the area had some influential and well-to-do residents. His campaign slogan to run for mayor, was ‘Bringing the Community together’, and he said one of the main reasons he ran for mayor was to overturn the ‘Ice Cream Cone law’ it was a law that banned people from eating ice-cream in public places! That’s America for you! Firearms are no problem but they used to have a law against eating ice-cream in public! Quite an agenda for a man like Clint Eastwood.
One of the biggest crossovers from entertainment to politics in Indian history! MG Ramachandran joined a drama troupe and moved on to films, and is still considered a major cultural icon in Tamil Nadu. He joined the DMK, became a rationalist, and quickly rose through it’s ranks. But after Annadurai died, he broke off and formed his own party called the AIADMK, and that’s how Karunanidhi became his political nemesis. He was the first ever actor to become a Chief Minister in political history. When he was undergoing medical treatment in the USA, he couldn’t go on ground and campaign in person, so his pictures were broadcast in all the movie halls of Tamil Nadu, and his party got 56% of the assembly seats! Once an entertainer, always an entertainer.
Ronald Reagan started off his career as a Hollywood actor. He also once famously told Arnold Schwarzenegger, that he couldn’t have had a political career without his training as an actor. You have to memorise lines, work with an entire team and in both places, you have to make people like you. As an actor, he had a seven year contract with Warner Brothers, and right after he was in a movie called ‘King’s Row’, he was drafted for military service; he could never regain that kind of stardom when he came back. He went from receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, to becoming the President of the USA in 1980! One of the trends that Ronald Reagan started in the USA was an increase in the demand for dogs of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed because he owned one during his tenure.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s hails from Austria, and grew up in a really strict household. He also served in the Austrian army for a year because it was required of all adults who were 18 years of age at that time. He moved from Austria to England when he found a sponsor to train him, and won the Mr. Universe title when he was barely 20 years old - the youngest Mr Universe then! He moved to the United States, and won the Mr Olympia title. There were reports of him being an illegal immigrant at some point in the United States, because his documents didn’t really add up, but he met and shared Ronald Reagan’s ideologies, registered himself as a republican, and his political career took its course - from being on the President’s council for Fitness and Sports, to actually becoming the Governor of California himself, from 2003 to 2011!
Kamal Haasan has always been known to experiment and give his all to a project. His fans call him ‘Ulaganaayagan’ or ‘Hero of the World’, so he decided to be a hero for real and join politics. After meeting ministers from different factions, he launched his own party and called it Makkal Needhi Maiam - or 'People’s Centre for Justice'. His party symbol is a logo of six interlocking hands which stand for the 5 Southern States and 1 Union Territory. He was a little sceptical about it and had even said joining politics would result in his death in one year! But here he is heading his own party. He won’t be the first film star to join politics in Tamil Nadu in recent times - there was Sivaji Ganesan, MGR, and Jayalalitha in the past, they still have Captain Vijayakanth, Sarathkumar, Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan - politics in Tamil Nadu are as dramatic as their movies!
Hema Malini is considered the dream girl of Bollywood. She is a trained classical dancer and started acting when she was only a teenager, and became really popular because of her choice in films and her equally famous co-stars. She began campaigning for candidates long before the Atal Behari Vajpayee government nominated her to the Rajya Sabha. A few months back she said she could become Chief Minister ‘in a minute’ if she wanted to, but she only didn’t do it because it would restrict her movement.
Apparently some people call her with ridiculous issues because her number needs to be made available to people in her constituency, but all they want to do is talk to the actor.
It was a battle of the stars when Shatrughan Sinha joined politics. His entry was a fight between him and his friend Rajesh Khanna in a by-election. Shatrughan said it was one of the biggest regrets in his life - fighting for votes against his really good friend! He’s always been very vocal of his opinions, so when there was talk of whether the BJP would give him a ticket or not, he said the question wasn’t about whether he would get a ticket or not - but whether he - Shatrughan Sinha - would accept it or not! No dearth of filmy dialogues even in politics!
She has one thing that most other celebrities in parliament don’t have - a great attendance record! Jaya Bachchan shot to stardom when she entered films, and it was further fueled when she married one of the biggest superstars of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. Her name to enter politics was first suggested by Amar Singh, a leader of the Samajwadi Party, to Mulayam Singh Yadav, and last year she filed her papers for the fourth time to the Upper House. She has been very vocal about issues related to the environment and women and child welfare both inside and outside of parliament, and contrary to being considered troublesome and not just being a star campaigner, she has become sort of indispensable to the party. The biggest change she brought to the party, was it’s image of being male dominated.
The whole world loves drama - and now that social media is a huge factor, we have more and more stars; influencers of all backgrounds are being invited to become politicians to seem more liberal and inclusive. While we wait for it’s effects, we might as well start munching on popcorn as we wait for election results. This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com.