Personally, which Lok Sabha election has been your most memorable so far? Why?
For me, it’s always the present one because I’m optimistic that there will be a change in the system at least this time around.
Which election, in your view, has provided the biggest turning point in the history of India?
There have been quite a few. The one after the Emergency — I was still in high school then.
And for the first time, everyone was so involved, with the people, the media all making so much noise. The noise still resounds in my ears. After that, I think there have been a couple more: the one in which Election Commission brought about reforms on how much money can be spent by parties and politicians for elections (2004) and the use of electronic voting machines from the same year. These two elections brought about a change in the voting and canvassing systems.
This election, too, as there is better focus among the media and the people. The AAP has also opened up a lot of possibilities.
What issues would you want the three MPs from Bangalore to address? Any particular issues in the movie industry that need attention?
I admit that overall development is important but what is a must is clarity and transparency in all transactions as well as the participation of the common man in these processes. In terms of development, the main areas of focus should be education and health care as these are an issue of human rights and dignity of life.
When it comes to films, I know that it’s called an industry, but when it comes to finance or banking, it’s not all the fine.
Though we are a big industry, I’m more concerned about the elections as a citizen; after all, film is only one spoke in the whole wheel.
Do you think the Congress, BJP, JD(S) and AAP have chosen their Bangalore candidates well?
I don’t really know all the candidates. I’m from Bangalore South, and I think Nilekani’s foray has made things more interesting. Coming from the corporate world, I think he has a certain credibility, and Ananth Kumar too has proved himself time and again.
Have you ever considered contesting elections? Which politicians do you know personally, and what do you think of their prospects?
Well, almost every time, as actors are most popular, I’m approached by at least one party to contest for them. But right now, I’m busy with my career. And I can’t flirt with politics; it’s something that requires commitment. But maybe sometime in the future, I will. You can never say what life throws at you tomorrow. Never say never, goes the saying. When it comes to politicians, I meet them at parties and events. It has always been cordial but formal, the way I interact. So I don’t know any of them well on a personal front.
What do you foresee in Delhi after the vote count on May 16?
I’m a terrible soothsayer, and since this is not my area of expertise, I think it’s very unfair to comment.
(As told to Chetana Divya Vasudev)