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Dev of Trinamool Congress, only celebrity Lok Sabha candidate still working in movies

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 6:35am IST | Place: Ghatal | Agency: dna

At 32, Dev or Deepak Adhikari, is the only celebrity actor to jump into the poll fray who is still working in the movies.

Dev is the highest paid and the most popular movie star in Bengal today. Even during campaigning, he found time to celebrate 100 days of 'Chander Pahar', perhaps the most expensive Bengali movie in recent times extensively shot in South Africa.

After the Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen era, Dev is the new poster boy of the film world of Bengal.

That made Dev's plunge in the poll fray as a Trinamool Congress candidate from Ghatal all the more baffling.

Bengali film industry insiders said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee reached out to Dev through Srikant Mohta of Sree Venkatesh Films, producer of some of the biggest blockbusters in recent times including Chander Pahar, and Satyaneshi, Rituparno Ghosh's last film, and also a recent entrant in the realty business through the development of Lake Mall at the heart of Kolkata. Mohta has a business relation with Dev, who has also turned producer.

"I respect Didi (Mamata) a lot, can't say no to her. I am just a face. I represent the youth," was Dev's reply when he asked why he joined politics.

That said, Dev hasn't retired from the glamour world, and was seen shooting for 'Yoddha', an equally opulent remake of Telugu blockbuster 'Magadheera' at Prayag film city at Chandrakona, located within the constituency.

A film city and a superstar actor isn't what people of Ghatal are used to. The terror of Maoists and bloody clashes in places like Keshpur between Trinamool and the Left over area dominance are what memories of people of this West Midnapore district are made up of. Keshpur is where Dev was born at Mahisda village.

The guns are silent now in Keshpur and elsewhere, and the credit is widely given to Mamata Banerjee, who brought peace to constituencies like Ghatal, Midnapore, Jhargram, Bankura and Purulia And that remains Trinamool's trump card as Ghatal goes to poll on Monday.

Dev's job was made easy when Gurudas Dasgupta, the CPI heavyweight and sitting MP, decided not to contest like several of his colleagues in the Left Front did this time.

To make Dev's job easy CPI has fielded Santosh Rana, who had lost the Midnapore assembly seat in 2011. His only challenge now is to use his star charisma to wrest Ghatal.

That's looking a possibility for Dev has been aggressively campaigning, drawing, quite expectedly, huge crowds everywhere he went, at every roadshows or rallies. "If I go to a rally near my home I can find many of my relatives. They are not involved in politics but has just come to see how big their Raju has grown," Dev keep saying.

He even reached out to the family of his paternal uncle Shaktipada Adhikary, a CPM leader in Keshpur to help him with his campaign. While Shaktipada refused, Dev's gesture to land up at Shaktipada's home and seeking his blessing was widely appreciated.

Dev's only forgettable moment came when, while giving an interview to a tabloid said the stress of campaigning and media glare make him feel like being raped. "Either you can enjoy or can shout," he had said. Bengal erupted in protest, but Dev was soon forgiven. "I m new in politics. My heart is clean. No offence meant 2 any1," he had tweeted. And that, in someway, describes Dev, the village boy turned superstar.

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