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Actors who created their own political parties

DH Web Desk, Dec 31 2017, 13:55 IST
Rajinikanth is the latest in a long line of actor-politicians, among whom a few have gone the extra mile and created their own political party.

Rajinikanth is the latest in a long line of actor-politicians, among whom a few have gone the extra mile and created their own political party.

Today, Rajinikanth announced that he intends to join politics. While he refrained from providing any more concrete details, he said that he plans to contest from all 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu assembly via his as-yet-unnamed party.

In the line of this, here's a small look back at Indian film personalities who created their own political parties:

1. NTR:

Arguably the most famous of them all, NT Rama Rao, or NTR as he was popularly known, was a multiple award-winning actor, producer and director in the Indian film industry.

Well-known for films such as Raju Peda, which won him the erstwhile Rashtrapati Award, NTR soon made his foray into politics and created the Telugu Desam Party, driven by the vision of Andhra's distinct identity, separate from the Madras state of old. In his time as the head of the party and went on to serve three terms as CM of Andhra Pradesh, even beating Rajiv Gandhi in the local assembly elections that followed after Indira Gandhi's assassination.

2. MGR:

Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran was another South Indian film personality who dabbled in the world of politics. Famed across Tamil Nadu for his works, he was something of a cultural icon of the state, and was revered as the 'Makkal Thilagam' or 'People's King'.

MGR made his foray into politics by joining the Indian National Congress, which he then left for the DMK, where he rapidly rose through the ranks, propelled by his popularity among the people. After the death of death of CN Annadurai, the founder of DMK, MGR left the party and used his vast experience and popularity to build his own political party, the AIADMK.

MGR served as the CM of Tamil Nadu for 10 years between 1977 and 1987, barring a half-year period when the President's rule was enforced in Tamil Nadu.

3. Upendra:

Upendra is one of the most popular actor-directors in Karnataka, with a large number of films under his belt.

Starting his career as an assistant director and writer, Upendra has since gone on to act in and direct multiple films across the Kannada, Tamil and Telugu film industries. His works include the multilingual Super, A, Preethse and Super Star.

Earlier this year, Upendra announced his entry into politics with his own political party. Named Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Paksha, the party says that it believes in skill-driven leadership and puts people at the centre.

4. Vijayakanth:

Yet another popular South Indian actor, Vijayakanth acted exclusively in Tamil films, though they were dubbed into other languages. Having seen both high and low in his career as an actor, Vijayakanth currently commands a sizeable fan following in Tamil Nadu.

Vijayakanth formed the centre-left leaning DMDK in 2006 and went on to ally himself with the AIADMK in the 2011 Tamil Nadu assembly polls, winning 29 of the 41 seats. Surprisingly, the DMDK won more seats than even the DMK. However, in 2016, the party lost much of its sheen, managing only a distant third with a large margin between his votes and the DMK's, which placed second.

5. Pawan Kalyan:

Pawan Kalyan, another Telugu film personality, started his acting career in 1996. Since then, he has acted in several films including Attarintiki Daredi, which is one of the highest-grossing films of Telugu cinema.

Kalyan has been included in the Forbes India list of Top 100 Celebrities in 2013 and was listed by Google as the most searched Indian celebrity in 2014. In that same year, he began his own political party, Jana Sena Party. The party aims to fight the local body elections in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, alongside the general elections, in 2019.

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