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Everybody loves stars and circus

By Jyoti Shukla in Baloda Bazar
Last updated on: November 28, 2003 15:39 IST
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Thursday evening proved once again that the electorate in Chhattisgarh is fed up with politicians and will not attend any political rally unless it holds the promise of some free entertainment.

Little surprise then, the Rajkamal Circus in this small town, 80 km from capital Raipur, is attracting bigger crowds than political meetings.

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On Wednesday, the Congress declared that filmstars Mahima Chaudhry, Prem Chopra and MacMohan (who, not many know, is Mohan Makejani according to his birth certificate) would attend an election rally in Baloda Bazar.

By Thursday morning, the town was agog with the talk of the film stars' visit. The rally was going to be held at the Dashahra ground. Time: 1930 IST.

Till 1900 IST, the ground was populated with just a few Congress workers. People generally avoid all the political speeches that preceed the stars' arrival.

In fact, when the film stars' large van passed by the ground, they were mighty miffed to see no crowds there.

Desperate Congress leaders even planned to take Mahima around in an open Jeep to convince the people she was there. Fortunately, they were saved of this exercise. The large van was an indication enough for the people that some 'starry' people had arrived.

In the next twenty minutes, the entire town was jostling to fit into the Dashahra ground.

Mahima was the first to make an appeal in the Congress' favour. Then Prem Chopra was invited to say 'a few words'. But before he could do that, to the organisers' horror, the microphone failed.

When the sound system was fixed and Chopra was invited again to make a speech, the crowd began demanding some 'dialoguebaazi.' Chopra and Macmohan obliged the crowd by delivering their lines.

The stage by now was crowded by whoever could get there. A local reporter trying to jot down what film stars were saying kept losing pages from his note book as girls around him begged for 'just one page'  to take autographs.

After the circus show ended, the crowds at the rally swelled.

Just as the crowd was getting out of control, Prem Chopra was invited again to deliver a speech. Bollywood's master villain, for some strange reason, chose to speak in English.

Soon after, the stars departed, leaving in their wake a happy crowd. Rival Bharatiya Janata Party workers were also seen at the venue, enjoying the show. Everybody loves stars and circus.


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Jyoti Shukla in Baloda Bazar