‘At the risk of being called elitist’, Saif Ali Khan says he didn’t vote all these years because he felt his vote never mattered, but says he will now, and that he’d like to vote for a good ‘father figure’ and set an example to the nation.
Saif Ali Khan seems to have been bitten by this bullet in particular and in a very rare instance, decided to share his views on politics in India. Saif Ali Khan, still slightly nettled after that morning’s ruckus in Delhi at an event to raise voter awareness, launched quite easily into a explanation of why he hasn’t voted all these years and why he will this year. ‘At the risk of sounding elitist’ was an oft-used disclaimer, but we’ll leave you to decide where you stand, on where he stands.
When asked why has he not voted till date..
The Nawab of Bollywood replied saying, “I never wanted to. I had an apathetic outlook where first of all – I still feel, I’m probably getting over it – that our democracy doesn’t really concern itself with my wants or needs. It’s more the masses, and the masses really basically want cheaper fuel prices. Or cheaper food. With me, we’ll talk about issues like gun control, abortion, values, taxes. Isn’t that a really niche thing to want in India – where it’s people power, it’ll be about the majority, so somewhere I felt my voting will be… But then I read about it, and came to the conclusion that it was an uneducated attitude. Now I feel that we must vote for a father figure when we vote, or like a good head of the family, whether it’s a mother or a father. I think those qualities are important. I think when the Americans vote for a leader, all things being equal, they vote for a father. When Romney or Obama write their books, you can get a feeling what kind of father they’d be. You have to decide whom you want running your house or your country. If you ask me about an Indian politician, I’d tell you what kind of father he’d be, in terms of what his values would be, what would his race take would be, what’s his take on economics, what’s his take on how much we should be taxed, how much should healthcare be – these are decisions for a mature and kind father figure. I’m not bound to share my politics, but I just think it’s important that everyone vote because it’d be nice if we could get a government with a clear margin. Thirty per cent of people don’t vote, and I think it’s the duty of every educated, well-off Indian to raise that awareness among the poor of this country. In fact, it might be our duty to canvass votes for the people we believe in, in a personal capacity, of course, not professional. I’m talking not about a country where everyone is educated or everyone has a free choice. I’m saying, in Pataudi or in the middle of nowhere… If I think this person will get you water or food or whatever needs to be done… In Bullett Raja, it deals with corruption in the political system. None of these characters have gone abroad, none of them I think care where India stands internationally. We do. We want India and Delhi and Mumbai, our country, not to be thought of as a poor country with a population of a billion starving, illiterate people. We want to take our country into a new age. How do you do that? If you actually feel something, it is my duty maybe to go out and campaign a little bit and tell people, you know, these are the people who I think are good and who have nothing to take from you because I think they’ve got enough. That might be naive – I’m sure both parties are… but I feel it’s better than to sit in an air-conditioned room and say India is this and India is that. I’m at that age now where action is required and I feel it’s my duty to do that. That’s why I agreed to even speak about saying it’s important to vote, because I normally wouldn’t mix film and politics. My father told me before he died – because somebody offered me loads of money to campaign for them – he said, I don’t think it’s a very good idea. He said if you want to do it, you should do it because you believe in it and you should do it for free.”
We even asked about the changes which took place in his mind from the previous elections to this one..
Saif said, “It’s got nothing to do with the last election. It’s just that now, I feel like a privileged member. I don’t think I should move to Hollywood, I don’t think I should move to London and just forget… I think in order to be healthy and balanced, one should do something here. And I think it’s all up to us – people like us – who are aware, intelligent and well-off – to do our best for whatever areas we can. If you do nothing and just complain, I think that’s kind of sad also.”