Why Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is referred to as a rock star during visit to Canada

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      Today, the leader of the world's largest democracy touches down in Vancouver.

      During his Canadian visit, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly been called a "rock star" in media reports.

      This might confuse regular readers of Straight.com, who've seen another view of Modi through the eyes of local contributor and broadcaster Gurpreet Singh or celebrated Indian writer Arundhati Roy.

      The term rock star is often used in reference to Bollywood film stars, such as Shah Rukh Khan, who was in Vancouver last September. One of his costars on the trip, Abhishek Bachchan, routinely refers to his father, legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan, as a rock star.

      Rock star is actually a common phrase to describe powerful, successful men in Indian English, particularly in Mumbai.

      One of the most famous Mumbaikars, film star Kareena Kapoor, calls her husband, actor Saif Ali Khan, a rock star. (Saif's mother, the elegant film legend Sharmila Tagore, charmed Vancouverites in 2012 when she spoke at the Indian Summer Festival.)

      But Modi is the first Indian politician ever to be accorded rock-star status. It's due to his charismatic personality, strongman image, and rags-to-riches story growing up as the son of a tea vendor in the northwestern state of Gujarat.

      Even Barack Obama seems to have caught Modi fever. In a blurb for Time magazine, the U.S. president wrote: “When he came to Washington, Narendra and I visited the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We reflected on the teachings of King and Gandhi and how the diversity of backgrounds and faiths in our countries is a strength we have to protect. Prime minister Modi recognises that more than 1 billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world.”

      But not everyone is drinking the Modi Kool-Aid.

      Well-known Indian TV interviewer Karan Thapar asked Modi some very tough questions about a 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujarat while Modi was the chief minister. As you can see from the video below, Modi didn't take too kindly to this interrogation, eventually walking off the set after the end of the tape.

      Karan Thapar roasts Narendra Modi.




      Apr 16, 2015 at 12:15pm

      I wish our Canadian PM would sit down and get asked and answer tough questions in the media.

      Most of the Corporate media don't dare ask tough questions or do Stories on the track record of our Politicians, especially those in "Power".

      Forget India lets try for a real Democracy in Canada first instead of the Constitutional Monarchy with a Foreign (German?) Queen as Head of State.