28 famous Tollywood faces have joined either the TMC or BJP in the last two months.

 

New Delhi: In the run-up to the 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal, a tug of war has broken out in the state between political parties to woo one or the other Bengali film stars to join their party fold, in turn leaving the Tollywood (locally known Bengali film industry) industry split wide open.

In the last two months, between January and first week of March, at least 28 famous faces from Tollywood have joined politics in Bengal and all of these stars have either joined the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) or the BJP.

While the TMC has been able to successfully woo around 18 film and TV serial artistes into their party fold, the BJP has managed to get around 10 big names from the Tollywood industry into their party.

Some of the big names who have joined the TMC in the last couple of months include director and producer Raj Chakraborty, actor Kanchan Mullick, Souptik Dey, Dipankar Dey, Sourav Das, amongst some others. Actress like Koushani Mukherjee, Sayaoni Ghosh, Shayantike Banerjee, among many others.

The BJP, on the other hand, has also managed to get some of the big names from the Tollywood fraternity into the party fold in the last two months. Some of the mega stars from the Tollywood industry who joined the BJP include Yash Dasgupta, Hiran Chatterjee, (incidentally, Hiran was vice president of the Yuva TMC before joining the BJP), Srabanti Chatterjee, Payaal Sarkar, Soumili Biswas, Rudranil Ghosh, among many others.

(L-R) Srabanti Chatterjee and Yash Dasgupta

Political observers from the state say that for the TMC, one of the biggest catches this political season is Raj Chakraborty, for it is him who is associated with Bengal film industry’s biggest banner Shree Venkatesh Films which produces some of the big budget movies for the Bengali audience.

For the BJP, Yash Dasgupta, Hiran Chatterjee, Payaal Sarkar and Srabanti Chatterjee are being considered as some of the big catches. Yash Dasgupta has become one of the most popular actors among the youths in Bengal in recent times with his popular movies like Gangster and Bhoje na se Bhoje nah, while Payaal Sarkar has more than 40 movies to her credit in the Bengali film industry and has won multiple awards for her acting.

Srabanti Chatterjee, on the other hand, has a long span of over 17 years of career in the Tollywood industry and has to her credit experience of working with superstars like Prosenjit Chatterjee, among others.

The TMC has given a ticket to almost all the major stars who have joined them in the last two months; the BJP is also likely to give ticket to these stars who have joined them before the upcoming polls.

BJP sources have said that they would make the stars who are joining them contest from seats where their acceptability is high and where the BJP is somewhat weak so that the star’s personal charisma works in favour of the party.

Inclination of the Bengali film industry towards political parties is not new. Earlier, during the 34 years of Left rule, the Bengali film industry would support the Left front silently as the Left did not believe in bringing stars into the fold of active politics.

But, soon after Mamata Banerjee gained popularity in the state in and around 2007, she had learnt that the stars would be of much use to her during the elections owing to their popularity and mass appeal.

Soon, she had started utilising them to contest elections which, in turn, had started to reap political benefits for her and the TMC.

Over the years, the TMC had made several stars from the Bengali film fraternity contest elections and most of whom had even won. Popular Bengali mega stars like Dev Adhikari, Chiranjeet Chatterjee, Debashree Roy, Shatabdi Roy, Nusrat Jahan, Mimi Chakraborty are still elected representatives of the TMC.

Apart from this, a galaxy of stars would always be seen with Mamata Banerjee and the TMC in several political and government events held by the TMC government in Bengal and political analysts from Bengal say that the Bengali film industry has always been an industry that loves to enjoy power and has always supported and stood by the government that is in power in Bengal.

Realising the appeal of star power among the Bengali masses, the BJP also did not leave behind the opportunity to utilise it and had made popular Bengali singer Babul Supriyo and Locket Chatterjee contest elections and both of whom had won. The party also made another popular Bengali star, Roopa Ganguly, a member of the Rajya Sabha.