"I'm not looking at being defeated" : Smriti Z Iraani


The mantle of a politician and a wannabe policy-maker as an elected representative of the people in the Lower House of Indian Parliament sits pretty nicely on TV's favourite bahu Smriti Z Iraani aka Tulsi bhabhi of Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi.

Sporting a cream coloured sari with the vermillion at the right place, bahu Smriti --- "my son would be exactly seven months old the day I file my nomination on 23 April," she says in reply to a question on various roles she's essaying these days --- mouths the right lines as if on cue from her

Delhi director, who happens to be the Delhi Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party chief, Dr. Harshvardhan.

The media glare doesn't bother her. She is used to it as a star of the small screen. She fields uncomfortable questions on taking money to join the BJP and politics with as much ease as the purely sugary ones on the challenge that a 28-year-old young woman has taken on in a modern and shining India.

At times, she almost sounds like HMV --- her master's voice that has left no stones unturned to project that the country is shining and the opposition parties only whining.But to be fair to her, Smriti is trying honestly to be the closest of the

two `outsiders' (the other being her main rival, Congress' Kapil Sibal) in the Chandni Chowk constituency from where she'd begin her journey towards Parliament. And, she's also not ungrateful. In the midst of TV channels' representatives trying to get some sound bytes, Smriti starts smiling when

indiantelevision.com is referred, while expressing her hurt feelings to the Mid-day people for publishing "baseless facts" on her.

Political analysts feel that Smriti stands a good chance of winning against Sibal in Chandni Chowk for various reasons, including the fact that both are outsiders to the area and the TV artiste's popularity can work to her advantage. Moreover, Chandni Chowk, traditionally, has been a BJP stronghold

because of the trading class, which has orthodox views and Smriti's screen role of an ideal daughter-in-law may go down well with them. But her critics point out that Indian politics is a great game of chess and till the last move has been made, nothing can be taken for guaranteed as the area has a

sizeable Muslim vote.

Ensconced in a small room at the Delhi BJP's office, Smriti, flanked by Doctor saab, answers some questions put forth by indiantelevision.com. Excerpts:


How familiar are you with the issues related to the constituency from you are proposing to contest?

Chandni Chowk (situated opposite the Red Fort and part of Old Delhi area that was the seat of power during the Mughal time) is not only a hub for business activity, but also has a rich cultural heritage. So, my endeavour would be to strengthen the business environs as also work towards the upkeep of the cultural heritage of the area.


Sounds great on TV, but ground realities may be totally different. Are you planning to win a parliamentary seat on these issues alone?

Look, I am being honest enough to say that these are some of the issues that come readily to my mind. But apart from these, there are others issues too like education, hospitals, infrastructure and the general well-being of the area and the people here.

"I am as much an insider as you call me an outsider"

Considering you are a busy TV personality, unlike some other out-of-work film personalities, would you be able to devote time to your constituency?

I always find time for things that I want to do. I'd like to open a local office here where weekend meeting could be held and from where I can interact with the local people. I would also like to suggest to the government that a body should be set up to look after the cultural upkeep of Chandni Chowk.


All that's fine if you are elected from here. But before that, you are an outsider to this area, like Congress' Kapil Sibal.

I am as much an insider as you call me an outsider. Apart from the fact that over 20 years of my life have been spent in Delhi, my aunt's daughter lives in Chandni Chowk. I used to come to her place as an outsider, but now I am here as an insider.


If elected, would you cut down on your TV assignments to accommodate more time for your constituency?

Yes, certainly I would.


Would that mean Tulsi vanishing from the small screen?

That is still being worked out. I have discussed this with Ektaa Kapoor and she's assured me that everything would work out. Don't forget that there are two women who are running the business there (Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu thi is produced for Star Plus by Balaji Telefilms, which is managed by Ektaa and her mother Shobha Kapoor).

"I have come with an open mind and would like to keep the industry's flag flying high"

Smriti Z Iraani with Delhi Pradesh BJP chief Dr Harshavardhan in her left

Do you think, as a woman you can handle the pressures of a political life as also juggle your personal and professional life?

Why not? I feel this is the right time for me to enter politics as the country is doing well and I'd like to contribute something to the society, which has given me so much.

But, such questions are not asked to males. Would you ask the same question to a male candidate?


How do you rate your chances against Congress' Kapil Sibal?

Sometime back, he gave me a complement as an actress. I hope, he gives me a compliment this time too for doing a good job.


Coming back to issues, considering you are from the entertainment industry, what would be your take on the industry?

Safety and technology are two big issues in the entertainment industry that a government needs to address. These are as important an issue like tax sops, making available financial help from the organized sector and bringing about more transparency in the industry as a whole.


But the government has already undertaken many initiatives in this regard like giving an industry status to the film word. What more would you want?

I know the government has done a lot. But banks and financial institutions need to encourage the industry further. They need to be educated on the industry that is a multi-million rupee industry and the source of livelihood for lakhs of Indians.

"I feel this is the right time for me to enter politics"

What would be your aim as an elected representative from the entertainment industry?

I have come with an open mind and would like to keep the industry's flag flying high.


Would your professional career take a back seat if you get elected or would you turn out to be one of those silent-types from the entertainment world in Parliament?

If I get elected, my duty towards the constituency would be the first priority. My professional life would be on the backburner definitely. But, once I'd settle the issues, I may look at my acting career again. And I promise you that I would not be a goongi gudiya (silent doll) in Parliament.


Would you say bye-bye to politics, if you loose from Chandni Chowk in your first political outing?

I am not even looking at being defeated.


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