If there is such a thing as too much, then we have had it with Bollywood’s endorsement of every conceivable cause. As if endorsing beauty creams, soaps and holiday destinations was just not enough, it must also oblige us by endorsing the most unlikely of all causes. As per an article in The Times Of India, the Maharashtra government has appointed actor Raveena Tandon as the brand ambassador of Mumbai’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
There is no scarcity of people in India, who are renowned for their efforts in field of environmental conservation. Yet, of all of them, we had to turn to a film star to be a brand ambassador. This is not a critique of the government’s decision mind you, because most people will approve of it. When have we ever said no to Bollywood endorsement? Which is my exact problem. Why don’t we ever question Bollywood endorsement, for causes where more knowledgeable people from that very field are sidelined, all for glitz and glamour? It is completely our fault, because we the people are just too blinded by their starry aura to see beyond them. We always fail to see a hoard of more deserving candidates, who stand ignored, unappreciated and unheard.
Sending out a message dimmed by star power
For Indians, the only icons worth listening to are film stars. They are role models of the highest order, hence we always take notice of their voices. Have we ever thought what kind of message this reverence of film stars sends out?
What do our children grasp when they see film stars becoming ambassadors for causes like tourism or eco-conservation or wildlife?
- Maharashtra government has appointed actor Raveena Tandon as ambassador of SGNP, Mumbai.
- Why is it that we turn to film stars for endorsement, even when it comes to social or environmental causes?
- Perhaps the reason we neglect such causes in our country is because we aren’t letting the right people inspire us.
- Bollywood may have its heart at the right place, but maybe this just isn’t the right job profile for it.
The next generation won’t learn a thing about these causes, but it’ll assume that the most impactful voices in our society are that of a film star. They won’t ever get inspired to become wildlife conservationists or botanists. Because we do not make efforts to put such people in focus. How can Tandon possibly send out a better message on conservation than someone who may have spent his or her life devoted to this cause?
But alas, those people and their work will remain in shadows because we do not care. We do not want a certified botanist to talk about plants. We would have celebrity recite it from a cheat sheet. There are numerous people who argue, “but film stars have such a wide reach. Their voices reach more people and hence are more effective”. The truth is that we have given them such a powerful voice.
If we put our weight behind philanthropists, activists, conservationists and people who dedicate their lives for worthy social causes, their voices will be equally powerful
The bottom line here is that who gets the opportunity to have a voice depends on whom we would rather listen to. I am not saying Bollywood has its heart in the wrong place. But isn’t it possible that some job profiles are just wrong for them? There are a lot of talented people in our country in every conceivable field. They all have a lot to say, which is insightful, inspiring and motivating. Perhaps the reason why we neglect numerous social causes in this country is because we are looking in the wrong direction for inspiration. If we give a chance to these people to endorse causes they know inside out, I am sure we wouldn’t be disappointed.
Picture Credit: Express Tribune
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.