They are leaving a sinking ship: Aparna Sen on Bengali actors joining BJP

A day after several Bengali actors joined the BJP, noted filmmaker Aparna Sen on Friday said they were leaving a sinking ship and drifting towards power. The actors were with the CPI(M) when it was in power, rallied behind Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee when she took over the reins of the state and are switching over to the BJP when it is gaining ground, she told PTI in an interview. On Thursday, several Bengali actors, including Parno Mittra, Rishi Kaushik, Kanchana Moitra and Rupanjana Mitra, joined the BJP at its headquarters here in the presence of the partys West Bengal unit head Dilip Ghosh and senior functionary Mukul Roy. Also read: Where there is power, they will go. There are people like that. I dont care about them, I dont think about them, Sen, who is in Delhi for the premiere of her film Ghawre Baire Aaj, said. People leave the sinking ship and go where the power is. Its a common human instinct, she added. Over the years, the TMC has been fielding several Bengali superstars as candidates for elections. Superstar Dev won the Lok Sabha polls for the second term this year, while actors Nusrat Jahan and Mimi Chakraborty debuted in Parliament this time. Sen, who is known for being vocal on socio-political issues, said Hindi film stars have to think about the wider range of audience they cater to and thats why they dont publicise their political stands. If they are seen to have any political colour, then they will have a problem, the 73-year-old said. She said the BJP is gaining ground in West Bengal due to the failure of the Trinamool government and the lack of a viable alternative. I dont think they (people of Bengal) see any alternative actually at the moment because TMC government also has failed them and the Left, for all practical purposes, doesnt exist anymore and Congress is also hardly there. But I think the Left and the Congress need to rise again. Because apart from anything else we need a strong opposition, she added. Sen was one of the many celebrities who campaigned against the Left government during the Nandigram and Singur movement, which helped the TMC come to power in 2011. In 2006-07, there were mass protests against the then Left state government over land acquisition for a Tata Nano factory in Singur and a chemical hub in Nandigram. The multi-lingual actor-director, who has made films such as 36 Chowringhee Lane and Mr and Mrs Iyer, said in response to a question that she has always been a strong critic of Banerjee and had never supported her politically. I didnt support her cause. I was only against the massacre in Nandigram. I was not supporting Mamatas cause. I was against uprooting of people in Singur when there was a land just opposite, where that could have been done (the Tata Nano factory). That was along with many other people, not just me. Nobody supported Mamata. Mamata happened to be the vote catcher and she took advantage of that situation. In fact, I have criticised Mamata many times publicly, the National Award-winning director said. Asked if she has ever raised her concerns with Banerjee personally, Sen said she doesnt have direct access to the chief minister. I never spoke to her about all these things. I dont have access to her as such. We have come across each other at public events. How are you and all, nothing more than that. I dont have any direct access to her, Sen said. Sen recently met agitating junior doctors in Kolkata along with other civil society members and also visited the violence-hit Bhatpara area. Are her political activities were helping the BJP gain ground? No, not at all. I talk to the people Bhatpara and we heard complaints both about BJP and about TMC. We heard a lot of complaints about Arjun Singh (the local BJP MP from Barrackpore). I have all those videos. Sen was speaking on the sidelines of the Jagran Film Festival, where her political thriller Ghawre Baire Aaj premiered. The film based on Rabindranath Tagores novel Ghare Baire portrays a love triangle in the backdrop of the current political situation in the country.