Bollywood and Elections: A long standing bond

Last Updated 03 May 2019, 12:43 IST
Come Lok Sabha elections, the focus is on the Hindi film industry, popularly referred to as Bollywood. There is always an excitement who from Bollywood would contest elections.
Among the stars, who made it big and are successful in politics include Sunil Dutt (Congress), Vinod Khanna (BJP), Raj Babbar (Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party and Congress) and Shatrughan Sinha, who is set to leave BJP and likely to join Congress - in the wake of being sidelined by the saffron party.
Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan, superstar Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra and Govinda were Lok Sabha members for single terms - and then preferred to stay away.
"Bollywood has an opinion on politics but only half a dozen can be considered as really successful politicians," said veteran film journalist and historian Sumant Mishra.
"There are few examples of successful actors to successful politicians. "Among the top would be Sunil Dutt, Raj Babbar, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna and among the ladies Jaya Bachchan, Jayaprada and Hema Malini," he said.
As far as Sunil Dutt, who was close to the Nehru-Gandhi family, he has represented the Mumbai North-West constituency -- for a record five terms -- which in a way is home to Bollywood. He was also the minister for sports and youth affairs in the Dr Manmohan Singh government. He faced a political crisis after his son Sanjay Dutt was arrested in the March 1993 serial blasts case. His daughter Priya Dutt is a two-time MP and is contesting this time.
In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government, Sinha was the shipping minister while Khanna was a minister of state for external affairs.
Raj Babbar joined Janata Dal under late prime minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh and then switched over to Samajwadi Party under Mulayam Singh Yadav. From 2006, he is working in the Congress, first when Sonia Gandhi was Congress president and now under Rahul Gandhi.
As regards Jaya Bachchan, she is a four-term Rajya Sabha MP from Samajwadi Party while Jayaprada had been a Lok Sabha MP. She started off with Telegu Desam Party and then move to the Samajwadi Party and now joined the BJP.
TV actress Smriti Irani, who is the textile minister, is also a Rajya Sabha member.
Film analyst and writer Navin Kumar said that if we look at the South film icons several made to the post of chief ministers - M G Ramachandran, M Karunanidhi, J Jayalalitha, NT Rama Rao. "We have actors who have high ambitions Kamal Hassan, Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi and want to be big in politics," he said. However, Kumar added that Bollywood personalities have not reached the top.
Evergreen hero Dev Anand was first to form a party
The legendary evergreen hero Dev Anand, affectionately called Dev Saab was the first from the Hindi cinema industry to form a party, National Party of India, in the backdrop of Emergency, however, it did not take off and the late star had to drop the plan. The hero of 'The Guide' even held a mega rally at the historic Shivaji Park.
Did You Know?
Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna, who started off as successful actors in the seventies and were contemporaries, entered politics in the eighties and nineties. While Bachchan, a friend of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi entered the Lok Sabha once and backed out, Sinha and Khanna struck to politics. Khanna passed away last year.
Several stars of Hindi cinema had been President-nominated Rajya Sabha members like Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Dilip Kumar, Rekha, Lata Mangeshkar, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar to name a few.

Ramayan:- Dipika Chikhalia, who played the role of Sita, won the elections from Baroda in 1991 on a BJP ticket. Arvind Trivedi, who played the role of demon-king Ravan, won from Sabarkatha the same year.
Mahabharat: Nitish Bharadwaj, who essayed the role of Krishna won elections from Jamshedpur.
The outgoing 16th Lok Sabha members have several Bollywood personalities like Shatrughan Sinha, Kiron Kher, Paresh Rawal, Moonmoon Sen and Babul Supriyo. Inspired by prime minister Narendra Modi, several Bollywood personalities have joined BJP.
(Published 29 March 2019, 10:04 IST)

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