Most people go to a noisy party on New Year's eve, get drunk, post a few pictures on social media, get a couple of likes and congratulate themselves on a day well spent. 'Thalaivar' Rajinikanth launches his own political party, gets half a country drunk on euphoria, gets thousands to sign up for his party within minutes of the announcement and makes even the international political pundits sit up and take notice. Need we say more -- kabali da!
While the general consensus seems to be that 'politics is joining Rajinikanth', there also some who say that 'elections will contest Rajinikanth'. But on a serious note, the superstar's announcement has caused quite a flutter in the corridors of power all over India. Social media is abuzz with posts, tweets and memes, hailing him as a messiah who will deliver them from the ills that plague Indian society.
Which makes one think - what could be the reasons that have caused politics to become a back up career option for actors and what makes people welcome them with open arms?
Maybe it is their larger-than-life personality and ability to solve even the biggest of problems within two and a half hours. Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Amitabh Bachchan and Sunil Dutt used brain and brawn to tackle every issue close to our heart - on screen that is.
Then there is their squeaky clean image in movies, the potential to do no wrong. They are the good guys of cinema and we expect them to be the same in real life. Come to think of it, how many reel villains have made it to politics? Ever-cheerful Govinda, 'dream girl' Hema Malini, friendly Dharmendra - the nice guys didn't finish last here.
No matter what the reason, every celebrity's entry into the murky world of politics is followed by a mad scramble from political outfits to lay out the red carpet. The actor's fan base translates into a number of supporters and votes. Their mass appeal draws different sections of the society and their glamour quotient ensures huge turnouts at rallies. What is there not to like?
Unfortunately, most of these stars fail to impress beyond the initial levels. There have been exceptions of course and glittering ones at that. For example, Tamil Nadu has produced a few stalwarts who have been archetypes of personality politics. Closer home, Upendra has announced his political debut as a means of giving back to the society.
But Bollywood has seen the same old stories unfold when it comes to the lofty ambitions of its heroes. This is primarily because of their tendency to stick on to their 'filmy' habits and make only occasional guest appearances in the legislative assemblies or constituencies. And a perceived disconnect from reality, like thinking it is possible to limit the influx of people into metro cities. Most of them have gracefully bowed out of the field and gone back to the simpler world of cinema.
Indeed, the transition from 'abhineta' to 'neta' is not smooth. Let's see if the new entrant stars manage to shine light on a new path.