Success has its pitfalls, says Smriti Iraani
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Success has its pitfalls, says Smriti Iraani

Indian television's leading lady talks on a wide range of issues in a tete-a-tete.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 14:42 IST

Smriti Iraani has had three prime callings of late — acting, production and politics (and don’t discount “family”, she insists).

One foot in Mumbai and the other across the country — Assam, Gujarat and soon South India, she has been crisscrossing the nation with LK Advani’s latest rath yatra, getting “involved with organisational politics at the grass roots”.

The nation’s favourite bahu is not free of controversies either. Be it the debate surrounding her cutting off saas Savita’s (Apara Mehta) track in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thior the State Human Rights Commissions’s recent order against her in the Iraani versus scriptwriter Rekkha Modi case.

How sure are you of not being reduced to another glamorous prop at political rallies, like other TV and film stars who joined politics?
It also depends on what an actor gives back to politics. Had I been mouthing my dialogues at public meetings for a lark, then I, too, would have been reduced to a show star.

I am actively involved in organisational meetings and I raise local issues when I address rallies. This is my third term in the BJP national executive and am also a vice-president of the youth wing.

Ten years down the line, you won’t be asking about my role in the party, it will be there for all to see.

Comment on rumours of you joining Congress...
Not many know that we as a family have been involved with Jan Sangh since my childhood. Joining BJP was an extension of that association. There is no question of me ever joining Congress. Tell us about your debut as a TV producer.

My company has produced plays earlier but this is our first TV production and it will be on Star Plus. The plot revolves around the aspirations of characters in lower middle-class families. It is stark and current, sans melodrama.

Are you geared up for another 20-year-old jump on Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi?
I have grown from 18 to 50 in the serial and am happy with the way ‘Tulsi’ has shaped up. I have never asked anyone in Balaji about the direction my role or anybody else’s was taking in these five years and more.

On the sets, I take feedback from Baa (Sudha Shivpuri) and Apara. It has been alleged that Apara’s track was ended to better yours.

Smriti Iraani: Between controversies and kudos

It’s the most idiotic thing I ever heard. Apara and I laughed about it. How much of Tulsi is you?
I was born and brought up, if not in a totally Virani-like family, in quite a similar set-up with respect for our culture and faith, as my mom happens to be from a Brahmin Bengali family.

Though I do relate to Tulsi on some issues, I never agreed with how she dealt with the Mandira issue. She forgave and accepted Mihir back. I would never have done that in real life.

There have been accusations of your interference in scripting too… you seem to court controversies in abundance.
Success comes with its pitfalls. There is no dearth of people waiting to pull you down. But I realised pretty early on that in this industry there are no friends forever.

Politician-actress-producerhome maker — what is the secret of your energy?
If not Smriti, perhaps I would have been a Duracell battery! It’s the energy I have for my work that keeps me going.

First Published: Apr 17, 2006 15:54 IST