Is Ollywood beginning to move away from politics?

Among the remaining, while many are inactive in politics now, some are either into campaigning or silent observers of the party affairs.
In the 2019 elections, more than 10 members from the film industry had joined different political parties, some aiming for a ticket. But this time, only one Manoj Mishra has transitioned into politics.
In the 2019 elections, more than 10 members from the film industry had joined different political parties, some aiming for a ticket. But this time, only one Manoj Mishra has transitioned into politics.

BHUBANESWAR: Ollywood’s craze for politics seems to be waning. While the previous general elections had seen actors jumping into the poll arena, less than a handful of them are now visible in the political landscape.

In the 2019 elections, more than 10 members from the film industry had joined different political parties, some aiming for a ticket. But this time, only one Manoj Mishra has transitioned into politics. Four other crowd-pullers - Kendrapara MP Anubhav Mohanty, former Korei MLA Akash Das Nayak, two-time MP from Berhampur Sidhant Mohapatra and actor-turned-politician Arindam Roy who were previously with BJD, are continuing their political careers, albeit from the BJP camp this time. Among the remaining, while many are inactive in politics now, some are either into campaigning or silent observers of the party affairs.

Balangir-born Manoj had courted controversy last year after being banned by the Utkal Cine Chambers of Commerce. The issue also raked up the separate Koshal state demand with senior Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra supporting the actor and stating that the issue will divide the state into two parts if the ban was not revoked. Manoj joined Congress in February this year and hoping to cash in on his regional popularity, the grand old party has given him a ticket to fight from Balangir Lok Sabha seat.

Similarly, Anubhav, Akash, Sidhant and Arindam quit BJD and joined the saffron party recently. Of them, only Akash and Sidhant (who were dropped by BJD last time), have received BJP tickets for Korei and Digapahandi Assembly seats. Speculations are rife that Anubhav and Arindam may be considered for Assembly seats. In 2019, two actresses Aparajita Mohanty and Pinky Pradhan had got BJP tickets to fight from Bhubaneswar (North) and Digapahandi Assembly seats respectively. But they faced defeat. From BJD, Anubhav fought and won the poll battle against BJP heavyweight and two time Lok Sabha MP Baijayant Panda in Kendrapara.

BJD leader and spokesperson Gautam Buddha Das said the exit of Anubhav, Akash, Sidhant and Arindam will have no impact on the ruling party. “Except Akash, Anubhav, Sidhant and Arindam had no connection with Odisha politics before they entered BJD. It is the party and its supremo Naveen Patnaik who gave them the political popularity. Our surveys pointed out that their popularity among voters has been dwindling and hence, they were denied tickets this time,” he said.

Sources said apart from a selected few who have a large following particularly in rural belts and went on to win polls, many actors and actresses who had joined political parties over a period of time were used only for campaigning. Be it Mahasweta Ray or Ashrumochan Mohanty. Which is why, many of them have become inactive now, they added.

“Unlike the South film industry or Tollywood where actors are treated as demi-gods, Odisha’s craze for film actors is only related to entertainment. Of course, there are a few exceptions like Prashanta Nanda, Anubhav and Akash,” said film historian Surya Deo.

The BJD camp includes actors like Nanda, Munna Khan, Kuna Tripathy, Uttam Mohanty, Asit Patra, Elina Dash, Shreemayee Mishra, Pappu Pom Pom and singers like Sofia Alam, Trupti Das and Human Sagar, among others. While Nanda is a former Rajya Sabha member, Pappu has quit the party and Tripathy is heading the OFDC.

Similarly, the BJP has Aparajita, Pinky Pradhan, Anu Choudhury, Usasi Mishra, Mahasweta Ray, Ashrumochan, Akhila Patnaik, Sritam Das, Panchanan Nayak, Jina Samal and her husband Rudra, Bidusmita, and comedian Harihar Mohapatra. Of them, Pinky, Akhila, Jina, Bidusmita are active in the party affairs.

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