Will tinsel town stars shine brighter this Lok Sabha polls? Here's what history tells us

Suresh Gopi, G Krishnakumar and M Mukesh are in the election fray. Photos | Instagram

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections is definitely one of the most star-studded events in Kerala, a state which has largely demarcated between its politics and cinema. While Suresh Gopi in Thrissur is BJP’s star candidate, G Krishnakumar who has always endorsed the BJP is contesting from Kollam opposite veteran actor and LDF’s M Mukesh.
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Despite their celebrity status, will their star power give them a win, like their counterparts in other states? Will Suresh Gopi, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the second time become the first BJP candidate to gain a seat in Thrissur that has shown alliance to both the LDF and UDF over the years?
A study of Kerala’s brief history of tinsel town stars competing in the elections will give you enough reason to believe that the state does not get wooed easily by star power, despite being a state that has shown a lot of allegiance to cinema.

Though Tamil Nadu celebrities had tasted success as long as the 1950s when M G Ramachandran, known popularly through his moniker MGR, came into power, in Kerala, the scenario is different. It is true that legends like filmmaker Ramu Kariat had won a seat for the LDF in the 1964 Assembly elections at Nattika in Thrissur, it was just a shadow of what politicians in Tamil Nadu were achieving. Despite a slew of other political entries from Tinsel Town, the true star moment arrived for Kerala in 2014 when the late actor and politician Innocent won the Chalakudy Lok Sabha seat as an independent candidate of the LDF.

Prem Nazir reportedly went to the extent of seeking votes for the Congress party at 42 venues in a single day. Photo | Manorama Archives

However, Innocent’s lucky tryst with politics was short-lived and the beloved actor failed to create a spark among the voters when he contested again in the LDF ticket in 2019, losing to Congress politician Benny Behanan. His jovial and warm image may have wooed voters initially, but down the line, voters probably saw him as just another political candidate.
Prior to this, Prem Nazir too made a significant entry into politics, though he never contested in the elections in Kerala. The evergreen actor was in the final stages of his career when he was inducted into the Congress party in the 1980s. Though Indira Gandhi had personally urged the evergreen actor to contest as a party candidate in the elections then, he refused.

He later agreed to become the party’s star campaigner after a slew of talks, following which he started campaigning for the political party in Thiruvananthapuram. Interestingly, Prem Nazir had harboured dreams to float his own political party as a young adult but decided against it when he realised it was not his cup of tea. Nevertheless, he was relentless with his campaigns and even went to the extent of seeking votes for the party at 42 venues in a single day!
Mukesh who is known best for playing relatable and hilarious roles in Malayalam cinema is a two-time MLA, but whether it will be enough to win a seat in the Lok Sabha polls will be decided only when Kerala goes to the polls on April 26.
Director and actor Rajasenan, Dharmajan Bolgatty, Devan, Jagadheesh and Bheeman Raghu were all film stars who made their foray into politics but did not make an impact at various elections. Prolific actor Murali too contested in the Lok Sabha elections in 1999 after he was handpicked by former Kerala chief minister V S Achuthanandan to contest in the elections from Alappuzha. Though the actor was initially hesitant, he later gave in after much persuasion from scriptwriter Cherian Kalpakavaadi. Though Murali had a large mass following owing to his onscreen persona and acting prowess, the actor did not stand a chance against the Congress’s candidate and then incumbent MP V M Sudheeran.
Though times have changed and more and more celebrities are entering the political fray, it still needs to be seen whether star power will drive the elections this Lok Sabha elections.

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