Bollywood's singing sensation Babul Supriyo, who hails from West Bengal, Sunday joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers.
He quit a lucrative job at a multinational bank to pursue his first love - singing. After ruling the Bollywood charts with a mesmerising voice, and performing as lead actor in Bengali films, the versatile Babul Supriyo has now made it big in another new field - politics.
From being nominated for the tough Asansol cosntituency in West Bengal, where the BJP has been traditionally weak, to pulling off a surprise win, and now getting a berth in the Narendra Modi ministry - it has been a meteoric rise for Supriyo, who turns 44 next month.
On the lookout for a fresh face to woo the floating voters as also the youth, the Bharatiya Janata Party zeroed in on Supriyo to contest the Lok Sabha polls from the industrial belt, from where it had never won earlier.
The articulate Supriyo's toughness, hard work and determination had then pleased the party leadership, as he remained unfazed despite being heckled by the ruling Trinamool Congress during the campaigning.
Overriding the vicious campaign against him, Supriyo defeated his nearest Trinamol rival Dola Sen - a trade union leader and close confidant of chief minister Mamata Banerjee - by over 70,000 votes.
Supriyo became one of the two BJP MPs from the state in 2014, but his victory was all the more creditworthy as it was the first time that the party had succeeded in the Lok Sabha polls by fighting on its own strength in the state. The other triumphant candidate S.S. Ahluwalia won from Darjeeling, but with the backing of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
In 1998, 1999 and 2009 also the BJP won Lok Sabha seats from he state, but those too came in alliance with either the Trinamool Congress or the GJM.
Born and brought up in Hooghly district's Uttarpara - a small town on the banks of the Hooghly river - Supriyo learnt the basic grammar of music from his grandfather, Banikantha NC Baral - a Bengali vocalist and composer.
His singing talent became manifest early, as Supriyo won several inter-school and inter-college music compositions and performed regularly in All India Radio and Doordarshan since childhood.
In 1992, Supriyo migrated to Mumbai to make a career in Bollywood.
"It was like climbing a mountain," he told IANS in an interview sometime back.
However, he got noticed over time, and churned out hits like "Pari Hai Ek Pari...", "Chanda Chamke..." and "Dil Ne Dil Ko Pukara".
He has also done playbacks in many other Indian languages including Bengali and Oriya.
Celebrated Bengali director Tarun Majumdar cast Supriyo as the lead actor in his film "Chander Bari" (2007). He then played the main role in the remake of the Uttam Kumar-starred "Ogo Bodhu Shundori" (based on 'My Fair Lady' 1980) and portrayed a negative character in Sandip Ray's 2009 film "Hitlist".
Supriyo, who holds a B.Com. (Honours) degree from Calcutta University, becomes the third BJP minister from the eastern state after Tapan Sikdar and Satyabrata Mukherjee.
Sikdar was a union minister from 1999 to 2004, and Mukherjee from 2000 to 2004 during the national Democratic Alliance government of A.B. Vajpayee.
As the BJP gears up to throw a tough challenge to Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in the West Bengal assembly polls, less than two years away, Supriyo may be projected as the face of the party in the coming days over more seasoned campaigners.