19 Mar What’s With Movie Stars in South India?
Now that we are engaged with issues of analysis this is a good issue to try our skills on.
We have often wondered about the political prominence of film related personalities (NTR, MGR, Karunanidhi, Jayalalitha) in the Indian South without devoting enough attention to come up with a decent hypothesis or explanation.
With the emergence of Chiranjeevi in AP as the potential ‘fourth-force’, we are face to face with the questions again. How do we explain the following?
- The acceptance in South India of movie related personalities as leaders of political parties and as Chief Ministers.
- The much less prominent profile of equally popular movie stars in North India–there are quite a few members of parliament but no political stars of equal rank.
- The virtual absence of film stars in the politics of other South Asian countries.
In order to put this in a global perspective, we could also consider the following:
- The absence of movie personalities in the politics of Europe.
- The success of minor actors like Reagan and Schwarzenegger in the US.
We have picked up some interesting leads from our occasional contributor, Aakar Patel, but let us not disclose these for now.
The analytical task is the following:
How do we formulate some plausible hypotheses to explain this observed set of facts? How do we subject our hypotheses to some reasonable tests of robustness?
How do we go back and refine our hypotheses?
How do we know if we have a good explanation?
Let us try our hand at this interesting exercise.