Bollywood and politics are two worlds where if you are able to carry yourself well you are able to stand among the masses. There are celebrities who chose to leave the glamorous world behind and join something that occupies the same amount of drama and excitement – ‘Politics’. These actors-turned-politicians are bestowed with immense love and it is something to take note of. There are several stars who left Bollywood only to join the rat-race of grabbing the ‘Chair’. May be it is their way to check whether the fan base helps them to make a difference in society. Whatever you may call, politics is definitely proved as a fall-back career option for several stars. Here are 10 Bollywood celebrities who turned to politics.
Actress-politician Hema Malini campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Vinod Khanna, former Bollywood actor during the Lok Sabha elections in Gurdaspur, Punjab. From 2003 to 2009, the then President of India APJ Abdul Kalam nominated her as the MP to the Rajya Sabha. She officially joined BJP in 2004 and was appointed as the general secretary of the BJP. In 2014 General Elections, she was elected to Lok Sabha after she defeated Mathura incumbent Jayant Chaudhary. She is also a supporter of PETA India, the animal rights organisation.
The He-Man of Bollywood Dharmendra made waves in the Hindi film industry as a strong, quiet and dashing hero. He is not only a successful actor but also a popular politician. In 2004 General Elections, he was elected as the MP from Bikaner in Rajasthan from the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was criticised for his remark made during his election campaign where he was quoted saying that he should be elected Dictator perpetuo to teach basic etiquette that democracy requires. Instead of attending Parliament sessions he preferred spending time in farm work or in film shoots.
Veteran actress Jaya Bachchan is one of the most versatile actresses of Indian cinema and has showcased her talent and capability not only as an actress but also as a politician. She has always been quite active when it comes to the political scenario. She is also felicitated with India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri by the Government of India. Recently, the Rajya Sabha MP of Samajwadi Party bagged the Best Woman Parliamentarian of the Year Award.
In 1984, the legendary actor took a break from acting and entered politics to support his friend Rajiv Gandhi. He contested from the Allahabad seat in the 8th Lok Sabha elections against former CM of Uttar Pradesh Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna and won by a large margin – 68.2 percent of the vote. He soon realised that politics was not his cup of tea and he resigned after three years.
Interestingly, except Sanjeev Kumar, the entire Sholay cast -Jaya Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and Dharmendra – tried their hands at politics.
Kirron Kher started her political career with her involvement with non-profit organisations such as ‘Laadli’ – campaign against female infanticide and ‘Roko Cancer’ – campaign for Cancer awareness. She has also participated in the Anna Hazare’s Indian anti-corruption movement in 2011 but when a section of Anna’s team came up the idea of forming ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ she refused to be part of it stating that the group was better as a non-political organisation. She has always been a vocal admirer of Narendra Modi even before he became the Prime Minister of India and has also campaigned for BJP during the 2011 municipal corporation elections. BJP declared her as the Lok Sabha candidate from Chandigarh for General Elections 2014 and Kirron even won the seat with a good majority.
Former Bollywood actress Jaya Prada bid good bye to Bollywood and made her foray into politics. She started her political career with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1994 but soon left the party following differences with party supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu. She then joined the Samajwadi Party and contested from Rampur Parliamentary Constituency in UP during the 2004 General election and got elected. She was re-elected in 2009.
Actor and lawmaker Raj Babbar entered politics in 1989 by joining Janata Dal. He later joined Samajwadi Party and was a member of Rajya Sabha from 1994 to 1999. He was re-elected in the 14th Lok Sabha elections in 2004 and was suspended from the party in 2006. He joined the Indian National Congress in 2008 and was elected as the Member of Parliament in 2009. He lost the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to VK Singh. Currently, he serves as the President of Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee.
Bollywood’s favourite villain turn to become politics biggest hero. He entered politics by contesting in by-election opposite Rajesh Khanna in 1991. However, he lost both the election and his friend Rajesh Khanna. Sinha in an interview revealed that the election was the biggest regret in his life. His successful political tenure began after he defeated Shekhar Suman in Bihar’s Patna Sahib constituency and won the general elections in 2009.
Govinda is considered as one of the flourishing actors of Bollywood in the 1990s. Though in the 2000s he suffered a sting at the box office and this is when he entered politics as a member of Indian National Congress. In 2004, he was elected as the seventh member of parliament for the Mumbai North constituency in the 14th Lok Sabha elections and defeated Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ram Naik with a whopping majority. During the 2005 floods in Mumbai, he was criticised for his inaccessibility by the people of his electorate. In 2009, he chose not to contest the elections and went back to Bollywood.
Former beauty queen, model, actress, producer and activist Gul Panag has always inspired us for more than one reasons. In 2014 General election she was the Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Chandigarh to counter actress Kirron Kher. But she came on the third position with 1,08,679 votes with Kher winning the election with 1,91,362 votes. In early 2017, she became a licensed pilot.