Some stars make it, some stars fade away

By Deepshikha Ghosh, IANS
6/29/2004 12:00:00 AM
Many film stars mellow and fade with age but some simply fall from grace after losing elections.

Two months ago, an unprecedented number of film personalities joined political parties and even contested the general election promising that their decision to serve society was more than mere flirtation.

Some in the cream of the tinsel world made it to the corridors of power.

But some of those who went home defeated or just made bit appearances during campaigning without joining the fray, appear to find it hard to hang on to their newfound political purpose.

In the two main parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two film stars each were elected: Sunil Dutt and Govinda from the Congress and Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna from BJP.

Two other stars were elected from the Samajwadi Party - Raj Babbar and Jaya Prada.

As for the defeated stars - celebrated music composer Bhupen Hazarika, actresses Moushumi Chatterjee and Nafisa Ali and popular television soap actress Smriti "Tulsi" Irani, life after elections is not nearly as politically charged.

Hazarika has bid adieu to politics and is reported to be joining a yearlong concert tour in Sydney.

"All the love, admiration and adulation showered on me as an artiste could not be translated into votes," said a dismayed Hazarika who had joined BJP in February declaring that he wanted to "improve the conditions of the people of the northeast".

While signing off on his short-lived political career, the veteran urged young, middle-aged and old people to carry on the torch of patriotism and idealism.

Similarly it is back to film assignments for Moushumi Chatterjee, who commanded much attention if not votes during her election campaign as a Congress candidate.

Since the May 13 verdict, Chatterjee has not been informed about any party responsibilities, though an organisational revamp is on the cards.

Actress-socialite Nafisa Ali insists she is not out of politics yet, even if she was defeated.

"I got a lot of love and affection from people when I campaigned, and I will continue to work for them like I promised," said Ali, who maintains that her Trinamool rival Mamata Banerjee damaged her chances by repeatedly calling her an outsider.

"I am not an outsider and I plan to continue working for the people here (the West Bengal constituency she contested)." But Ali too has got no hints from the Congress leadership of her engagement into heavy-duty party work.

On the other hand, BJP's Smriti Irani, who plays the much-loved character "Tulsi" in the soap "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", received an invitation to attend the BJP national executive in Mumbai despite losing the election.

"Attending the meet was a proud moment for me," the politically ambitious Irani said. "I am proud to be a part of this extraordinary gathering where people from every strata and background have been represented."

Having taken a brief break from her daily soap appearance, which was written into the script, Irani is back to daily shoots.

Other celebrities who campaigned, but have since hung up their political boots are Poonam Dhillon, Amisha Patel, Sunil Shetty, Deepti Bhatnagar, Yukta Mookhey and Kumar Sanu (all BJP) and Shakti Kapoor, Celina Jaitley, Mahima Chowdhury and Zeenat Aman (all Congress).

Nevertheless, the Indian parliament still enjoys a generous share of stardust with the likes of Sunil Dutt, Dharmendra, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Jaya Prada and Govinda.

Shatrughan Sinha and Hema Malini are in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha, but in terms of realpolitik, Sinha has been around much longer than his one time co-star.

He snagged a cabinet berth in the previous BJP-led regime after much sulking over not being given his due for campaigning tirelessly for the party.

Though Sinha's ministerial stint became news more for his truancy and preoccupation with film assignments than any other work, the sharp-tongued wit is reportedly angling to be BJP's chief ministerial candidate for Bihar.

India's political history is replete with crossovers from moviedom, but not always with successful results -- are filmstars Amitabh Bachchan, Vyjayanthimala Bali, Rajesh Khanna, the late Shivaji Ganesan and late Nargis.