'We got to Sanju before the Congress'

Actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada on political debut of Sanjay Dutt, upcoming film The Desire and more...in conversation with Hiren Kotwani.
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Updated on Feb 23, 2009 04:15 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHiren Kotwani, Mumbai

Actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada on political debut of Sanjay Dutt, upcoming film

The Desire

and more...in conversation with

Hiren Kotwani.

What makes a movie star a successful neta? We haven’t had too many of them.

Ronald Reagan, NTR, Jayalalitha.. they are successful politicians. Yes, some fail to connect with people because as a matinee idol you have a pampered life and are given a red carpet welcome where you go. As a neta you have to stoop to the level of the common man and can have no starry airs. When there’s a flood, you wade in the waters too.

What factors do you attribute to your huge vote bank?

I don’t pretend to be with the people and give them false assurances. I’ve never betrayed the trust of my constituents. My popularity in the movies and the characters I’ve played have stayed on in the people’s minds. In Rampur, I’m treated like a sister.. a daughter.

Sanjay Dutt has joined the Samajwadi Party despite being convicted under the Arms Act in the 1993 Bombay Bomb Blasts case.

Sanju got a warm welcome in Lucknow. Amar Singh


is like an elder brother to him. Being the son of Nargis and Sunil Dutt he can’t be wrong. He is a victim of circumstances. He wants to serve the people, and Samajwadi Party has given him a platform to do that.

His sisters, Priya and Namrata, are reportedly very upset with his new political association?

Soon after Sanju joined the SP, the Congress announced that they would have supported him. But Sanju had said earlier that he would take up the first offer he got. And we got there before the Congress.

Controversies have dogged several of our star-politicans including Jaya Bachchan.

As celebrities we are always under the microscope. Amit


(Amitabh Bachchan) is very sensitive, he can’t tolerate anyone saying anything wrong about him. But politicians can’t be sensitive. If someone abuses you,

toh gaali khaani padti hai

. (Smiles) I may look frail but I can face any storm.

You broke down when Azam Khan maligned you at a public rally.

It was one of those things that happen suddenly. I still don’t understand why he was so upset with me. I tried meeting him afterwards but he has been travelling. Azam Khan was the one who took me to Rampur.. he’s my rakhi brother. Hopefully, things will get sorted out soon.

You haven’t been seen in movies in a while.

I have been working. There have been films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and my own production in Bengali. And only the Hindi version of


has been delayed. Presently, I also have to make time for my constituency and Lok Sabha sessions. I’ll do more films after the elections.

Even dance shows have taken a backseat?

I was preoccupied with my Bengali film and work as a parliamentarian. But the first Indo-Chinese co-production that I’m doing,

The Desire

, revolves around dance.. Odissi, which is very different from Bharat Natyam or Kuchipudi. I learnt before we started shooting and am still practicing because as Shilpa’s (Shetty) dance teacher I have to be perfect.

Your Bengali movie has yet to be released and you have already signed Buddhadeb Dasgupta to direct your next production in Hindi.

The Bengali movie will release after the elections. The Hindi movie is still in the early stages of planning. In another month, Buddhada will announce it.

Amar Singh is playing a cameo in your Bengali movie.

(Smiles) Yes, a minister but he’s not playing himself. He urges the rebels to support the system.

You are referred to as the Rani of Rampur.

(Laughs) Well, apart from my other commitments, I have got the Allahabad-Haridwar Express to halt at Rampur. My constituents have now named it Jaya Prada Express.

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