Bollywood & politics: Stars who shine bright on the big screen often fail in politics

March 28, 2021 4:00 AM

Here are some who tried their hand at politics, but failed to succeed

In 1984, he took a break from films to join politics to support his long-time friend Rajiv Gandhi.In 1984, he took a break from films to join politics to support his long-time friend Rajiv Gandhi.

By Reya Mehrotra

There is something about Bollywood and politics. The latter draws the biggest names from the film industry, the most recent being Mithun Chakraborty who has joined the BJP. But stars who shine bright on the big screen often fail in politics. Here are some who tried their hand at politics, but failed to succeed.

Urmila Matondkar
The actor had joined Congress in March in 2019 and contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Mumbai North seat, but was unsuccessful. Later, in September the same year, merely five months after joining the party, she quit, citing “petty politics” as the reason. Now, the actor says she wants to focus on good scripts and her career as an actor, and is experimenting with web shows. She joined the Shiv Sena in 2020.

Amitabh Bachchan
Bollywood’s biggest star, too, had his share of failure in politics. In 1984, he took a break from films to join politics to support his long-time friend Rajiv Gandhi. He contested for the 8th Lok Sabha from Allahabad’s seat and won, too, by a great margin. However, his political career was shortlived as he resigned after three years, following which he was implicated in the Bofors scandal. He was later found not guilty. He started supporting Samajwadi Party for his long-term friend Amar Singh, but did not join it.

Shatrughan Sinha
He was a Lok Sabha member from 2009 to 2014 and a Rajya Sabha member from 1996 to 2008 for two terms. In the Vajpayee government, he served as the minister for health and family welfare and shipping and later between 2014 and 2019, a member of the standing committee and consultative committee in the ministry of external affairs and overseas Indian affairs. When he was not given a seat after the 2019 elections by BJP, he joined Congress.

Known for her versatility and grace, actor Rekha has won many awards for her notable performances in movies like Umrao Jaan and Khubsoorat, and been part of critically- and commercially-acclaimed films like Ijaazat, Silsila, Khoon Bhari Maang and so on. Owing to her decades of contribution to cinema, she was nominated as a Rajya Sabha member in 2012 and still serves as one. However, in all these years, she has had one of the lowest attendances in the Rajya Sabha and has not asked many questions in the very few sessions she has attended.

Sunny Deol
The Bollywood star turned to politics after a successful run at the silver screen for years. He is currently a member of parliament from Gurdaspur constituency of Punjab. He has often been in controversies in his political career. In February 2020, at a rally in Pathankot, he said, “I do not believe in making controversial remarks, but everyone knows no one is better than me when it comes to beating up someone.” He also drew flak when he hired a representative in Gurdaspur to attend meetings and follow important matters in his absence. He was called out for his short attendance in the 17th Lok Sabha.

Javed Jaffrey
The actor, who has several movies and shows to his credit, joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2014. He contested the 2014 general election from Lucknow constituency, but finished fifth. He lost to Rajnath Singh after securing 41,429 votes. He has not been very active in politics after that. In 2014, he said that he had entered politics to “remove the shortcomings in the system prevailing in the country.”

Mahesh Manjrekar
Mahesh Manjrekar has had a successful Bollywood career both as an actor and director. He is known for directing films like Astitva, Vaastav and Viruddh. In 2014, he joined politics by entering Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), led by Raj Thackeray. He contested the 2014 elections from the Mumbai North West constituency. However, he lost to Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Kirtikar. He has continued his stint in films with the latest being Mumbai Saga.

Shekhar Suman
The actor has managed his career successfully in films and TV. In fact, he won many accolades for his TV show Movers & Shakers. He fought the Lok Sabha election in 2009 from Patna Sahib as a part of Congress, but lost to Shatrughan Sinha who was contesting from the BJP. Later in 2012, he said a strict no to politics.

Gul Panag
Actor Gul Panag wears many hats. She is a certified pilot, acclaimed actor, model, former beauty queen, half-marathon runner, biker and a social activist. In 2014, she was the candidate from Chandigarh for the AAP for the general elections. However, she secured the third position and lost to Kirron Kher. Her father HS Panag, a retired Lieutenant General in the Indian army, also joined AAP in 2014 after his retirement from the armed forces, but quit later.

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