At a time when one section in society is rather opposed to film stars entering politics, others believe that their star status is a stumbling block to serve the people. Sri Lanka’s political history has evidence of top film world heroes playing heroic roles in politics too.
But the next question that arises is the problem of beauty and brains? Some question the rationale behind voting and electing movie stars to parliament simply for their reel image and not taking into consideration whether such stars have the capacity to do justice to their real life characters. It is virtually a matter concerning beauty and brains. It is no secret that stars with a huge fan base, have become utter flops in the political scenario.
It is in this backdrop that popular actress and tele drama producer Nadeesha Hemamali is taking a plunge into politics. She announced on Thursday that she was contesting the upcoming Southern Provincial Council Elections on the UNP ticket.
The vibrant actress Nadeesha, who is known for her exceptional acting prowess and outstanding PR skills, said despite a faction opposing or discouraging the entry of actresses into the political sphere she was confident of playing her role well in the world of politics.
Q: We have seen some personalities belonging to your glamour field engage in active politics. But do you feel this is the right time for another actress to enter the fray? How different are you going to be from the others?
A: Firstly let me respond to the first part of your question. People from various professions enter politics and they freely engage in their work, immaterial of which party they represent. But why this big hue and cry when only actors or actresses especially enter politics? As a citizen of this country don’t I have the right to serve the people by entering politics? Is my image as an actress going to be an impediment?
I am indeed a different type of person. I have demonstrated my uniqueness in whatever I did in my career and my personal life. I have always responded emotionally and positively to the people’s humanitarian needs in society. I never did them to seek any kind of publicity. As an actress I have been extremely sensible in my work and professional choices. So, I think I have made the right choice at the right time. It is not the profession or gender that matters. What matters most is your level of intelligence.
Q: Contesting on the UNP ticket is also one such intelligent choice?
Of course, to be frank my entire family, for generations has been supporters of the UNP in which we all have great trust. I made this choice with great confidence and courage. The UNP is the largest singular party of this country that has served people since gaining independence. I can always say that it has been a people’s party. I have trust that my vision of serving the people in an honourable way can be fulfilled by being part of the UNP. I also have confidence in the party’s leadership.
Q: How has the feedback been since you made this announcement?
My family, friends and well-wishers who knew me were elated. I am in this position today because of the people who have loved, adored and encouraged me to do good work. This move will only provide a platform for me to reach out to the people who loved and accepted me for more than a decade.
Q : Unlike the world of lights and cameras, the world of politics is largely infested with elements inclined to violence, corruption and cut-throatism. How can an actress of your calibre survive and face such challenges in order to make your vision a reality?
I always believe in non-violence. I am a very practical person who always believes in fair play and good humane relationships. Yes, as you say if politics in this country is blemished by violence, it is people like us with right attitudes who should come forward without fear or favour and change this chaotic situation. I can’t simply sit at home and make any contribution without getting into the thick of things.
Nadeesha Hemamali together with the UNP’s support help can create a new harmonious, violent-free culture. This is my dream.
Q: Do you think you are mature enough to take such big risks?
Why not? There are people who are even younger than I am representing the people in Parliament. I am a confident soul who can transform words into action.
Q: However, haven’t we seen politicians who spoke so and fought for people’s rights changing colours?
May be so, but I am Nadeesha Hemamali and I am different. Please mark my words.