A star-studded Parliament

A star-studded Parliament

Bollywood actor Rekha nominated by the government, took her oath in Rajya Sabha  on Tuesday. The diva is now officially a Member of Parliament.

Rekha in Rajya Sabha.

Joining the ranks of other Bollywood beauties like Nargis Dutt, Vyjantimala Bali, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Jaya Prada and Shabana Azmi, Rekha is the latest entrant to be nominated to the star-studded House of Elders.

Is it the prestige and power that accompanies this nomination that makes them say ‘yes’? Or is it a burning desire to serve the country that suddenly finds manifests itself when all else - including beauty is on the wane? Do these nominated film stars really contribute anything substantial to the new role that is thrust upon them?

Smriti Irani, who shot to fame with Ekta Kapoor’s Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and later contested and won her seat to the Lok Sabha on a BJP ticket, with a practiced smile in place vehemently denies signing up for lack of better things to do. “I joined politics when I was on top of my career. I have been doing social work for years now, long before I joined active politics but I have been doing it privately because I am doing it to make a difference not to gain brownie points. I am not interested in power or fame.”

In India, films and politics have become inseparable. Many actresses have made a seamless transition from doing filmy roles to political roles. It seems as though most of them script their political careers at the end of their film careers so that they can extend their working life. If we look at the whole picture, one notices that these high profile actresses have rarely launched their own political outfits and have preferred to join mainstream parties.

While only a few of them have ventured into the hurly-burly of electoral politics, others have preferred the less risky Rajya Sabha  route.

National parties consider this as a win-win situation. While celebrities like Shabana Azmi get a chance to work more effectively for the causes they have always espoused as activists - in her case working with the slum dwellers of Mumbai among others, there are others like Jaya Prada who have actively participated in various social, cultural and educational activities. Their nomination has proved to be an official ticket for their charity work. Says Jaya Prada, “Stars are human beings too. I have always wanted to work for the society and the people around me. Acting was my passion. It is my identity. But I wanted to do more. Politics has given me a chance to do a lot from my side while a lot remains to be done,” she says.

That stars come with an established fan base, which may help turn the tide during elections is certainly food for thought.

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