Friday, March 19, 2010

Kerala and Big B: Over before it even started?

About a week ago, I wrote about Kerala Tourism’s budding relationship with actor Amitabh Bachchan. A relationship that could culminate in Bachchan signing on as an ambassador for Kerala Tourism.
But much quicker than expected, the fledgling relationship has run into some rather strong turbulence of the political kind. The CPM politburo, or many of its members, it appears, is against the idea of Bachchan being Kerala Tourism’s brand ambassador. Their objection, it seems, stems from concern about the possible implications of Bachchan promoting the Left-ruled Kerala even as he endorses BJP-ruled Gujarat.
This ‘red card’ to Bachchan has proved to be manna for Kerala’s television channels over the past 24 hours. Excitement levels ran high on some channels on the evening of March 18, as panellists debated the possible ramifications of the politburo direction, including the perceived insult to “Amit-ji”!
In the midst of all the excitement, everyone seemed to have forgotten the teeny-weeny point that Kerala Tourism and Bachchan have not yet signed on the dotted line. For that matter, they haven’t even discussed the contours of the deal yet! All that has happened is a preliminary expression of interest — from both parties — in working together. So commercial, not political, factors may yet scuttle the relationship.
Meanwhile, Kerala Tourism, it seems, is unruffled by the ruckus and is set to go ahead with its planned discussions with Bachchan. The actor, himself, was on Malayalam television earlier today saying that the ball is in the Kerala Government’s court.
The Kerala Tourism-Amitabh Bachchan courtship really does have all the makings of a Summer blockbuster!

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