Politics has always made space for film stars, as they are crowd-pullers. Along with fame, politics also gives power, which makes it a lucrative option for film stars to make their foray into the political arena. From megastars in the Bollywood film industry to South superstars, several actors, as well as actresses, have plunged into politics. But while some still have a successful stint, others have failed to connect with the masses despite their on-screen popularity.
Here are 10 cine stars who entered the political arena but failed miserably:
Let the list start with Big B, the megastar of the Bollywood film industry, who has played myriad roles in diverse genres, and shone. However, the megastar couldn’t shine as bright in politics. In 1984, he had taken a break from acting and joined politics to support his family friend, then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He had won the Allahabad seat defeating HN Bahuguna, former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, with a remarkable 68.2 per cent of the votes in his favour. Three years down the line, he quit as an MP and also as a politician in July 1987 after speculations surfaced about his alleged involvement in the Bofors scandal.
Meanwhile, his wife Jaya Bachchan is a successful politician serving as Rajya Sabha MP from the Samajwadi Party for four terms since 2004.
Superstar of the comedy genre, Govinda had decided to quit politics “like Amitabh Bachchan” in 2008. He fought the 2004 Maharashtra Assembly elections on a Congress ticket and won from the Mumbai North constituency. He had defeated BJP’s Ram Naik. In 2009, he took a break from politics to concentrate on films, and was eventually succeeded by Sanjay Nirupam.
In several interviews, Govinda had maintained that he regretted the decision to join politics, and had called it a “big mistake”.
South superstar Rajinikanth had launched Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM) or people’s forum in 2018. But three years later, in 2021, he announced that the party was dissolved and said that he had no intention of entering politics in future.
The South superstar said that members of his outfit would continue to serve the public as part of the Rajinikanth Fan Club Association.
Rajinikanth had said that he was unable to continue in politics owing to his ill-health.
Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt fought as a Samajwadi Party candidate from the Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency in 2009 but withdrew after the court refused to suspend his conviction under the Arms Act.
The actor-producer was later appointed as the general secretary, but later resigned and eventually left the party.
In 2019, reports started doing the rounds of Dutt’s re-entry into politics ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, but he had denied it and had said that he would not be joining any political party.
Dutt comes from a family with a political background. His father, later Sunil Dutt, had won from Mumbai Nort West constituency as a Congress candidate for five terms. He had served as a minister of Youth Affairs and Sports in the UPA-I government during 2004-2005 before his death. Sanjay Dutt’s sister Priya Dutt is also a former MP of the Congress from Mumbai.
Actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar had contested the Lok Sabha election in 2014 from Mumbai North-West as a Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate. The party is led by Raj Thackeray.
However, in the 2014 elections, he was defeated by Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar.
Actor Gul Panag entered politics during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and contested on an Aam Aadmi Party
Gul Panag’s father Lt. Gen (Retd.) H S Panag is one of the founding members of AAP.
Actress Rakhi Sawant made her entry into politics in 2014 when she launched a new party called the Rashtriya Aam Party (RAP). She had filed her nomination for the Lok Sabha election from the Mumbai North-West seat and fared poorly, finishing sixth. She had polled 2,000 votes out of the nine lakh votes and finished sixth. The following year, she had joined Republican Party of India (Athavale).
Urmila Matondkar plunged into politics in 2019 and joined the Congress party. He had contested from the Mumbai North seat, but lost to BJP’s Gopal Shetty by a huge margin of 4.6 lakh votes. She quit the party five months later and joined the Shiv Sena in 2020.
Interestingly, three years after she left the Congress party citing “petty in-house politics”, she had joined the Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra in Jammu on January 24, walking hand-in-hand with Rahul Gandhi.
Javed Jaffrey joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2014, and contested the 2014 general election from Lucknow constituency. He had finished fifth, and lost to now defence minister Rajnath Singh. Following the loss, he has not been active in politics.
Shekhar Suman fought the Lok Sabha election in 2009 from Patna Sahib as a Congress candidate, but lost to Shatrughan Sinha who was contesting from the BJP. In 2012, the television star had resigned from Congress and cited the reason as “preoccupation in Bollywood”.
Later, in 2020, when a fan asked if he still wished to join politics, to which he had replied, “Not at all”.