Recently, a popular Indian actor and director called Bollywood Celebrities ‘cowards’ for not speaking out about the Anti-CAB movement gaining traction in the country. While a lot of young actors have promptly taken a stand through Twitter and other Social Media Platforms, an equal number of celebrities have kept mum.
Is there a reason why celebs play it safe when it comes to politics? Let us delve into some of the factors that make it difficult for Bollywood starlets to take a personal stand.
In an interview with David Letterman, Shah Rukh Khan rightly pointed out – I am an employee of the myth of ‘Shah Rukh Khan.’
We may think that celebrities have nobody to answer to, but on the contrary, they don’t possess sole ownership over their stardom. Celebrities represent brands, businesses, movies, TV shows, and many other things. Anything and everything they say has an effect on each of these factors. Since a lot of stakeholders are involved, it becomes risky to address controversial topics.
With great power comes great responsibility. Celebrities have an immense scope of influence, but do they necessarily have the knowledge or domain expertise to talk about issues of national importance?
Big stars are aware of the impact a recklessly drawn-out political statement can make. Hence, they are advised not to share their viewpoints and opinions publicly.
India is no stranger to the boycott culture. When Amir Khan spoke about feeling insecure about the future of his children in India, he did not anticipate the whirlwind of real-life ‘Dangal’ it would bring about. Apart from the endorsements they take in, actors have another brand to protect – their own.
At a time when 64% of consumers globally buy/ boycott a brand based on its position on a socio-political issue, brands and celebrities cannot afford to make sensational statements. It is tempting to demand that celebrities take a stance on recent developments, especially considering the kind of popularity they can garner for a cause. Actors, however, have a lot of factors to take into consideration before making a bold move.
All we can do in the meantime is appreciate the ones who have taken a stand and try to understand why most others have not. Let us go easy on the Bollywood Stars we know and love, what say?