From an actor to a Narendra Modi fan, what made Paresh Rawal enter politics?

Paresh Rawal hit the right note when he targeted one-hit wonder Arundati Roy on Twitter. The Bollywood actor slammed Roy for making anti-national comments. Rawal had said that instead of the stone-pelter, Roy should have been tied to the jeep.His twitter account was suspended for a few days. The BJP MP says that he doesn’t regret and has no intentions to take the statement back. Rawal started off as an actor, but what people didn’t expect was his entry into politics.

Rawal has been a Lok Sabha MP since 2014. It was an emphatic win for him, giving him the license to multitask. On a personal note, the actor is an agnostic. Similar to the role of Kanjilal Mehta essayed by him in 2012 blockbuster OMG -Oh My God! Rawal believes that the need to speak up for the country is greater than the need to be ‘politically correct’.

“I am a rational man. My statement isn’t based on one report. Please see my first tweet after my account was restored and you will know how she spreads rumors, about India, about 2002,” says Rawal. He says that he is a citizen of the nation even before being an MP. Hitting out at Arundati Roy, he says “She can say anything against my country, demoralize my army and I should sit quietly? She then plays the woman card… If she is a woman, she needs to behave like one,” he says.

The film industry has chosen not to react to Rawal’s comments. Many people would want to know how the ‘method actor’ was drawn into politics. When it comes to his filmy career, Rawal has done it all. From playing comic roles, to essaying subtle characters & even playing the main antagonist, Rawal has succeeded with almost every experiment.

He played the titular role of Sardar Vallabhai Patel in ‘Sardar’. The movie was directed by Ketan Mehta in 1993. Rawal is an actor that can make the common man stand up and take notice. Be it his roles in Arjun, Andaz Apna Apna, Hera Pheri series or any other Bollywood classic. An actor who had nothing to do with politics, suddenly joined the BJP and was given an opportunity to contest for MP from Ahmedabad. What led to his political entry?

Rawal admits that he has been an ardent Modi fan since 2006. This was also the first time the actor met the then Gujarat CM. After meeting Modi, Rawal became a fan of PM Modi. He was impressed and motivated by the then Gujarat CM’s work. The camaraderie continued and Rawal campaigned for Modi in the 2012 Gujarat state assembly elections. Rawal never had any political aspirations, but he claims that he and his wife have always been BJP supporters.

Swaroop Sampat, Rawal’s wife, is fondly referred to as Gujarat’s masterji by PM Modi. Modi as CM of Gujarat had approved Sampat’s proposal to teach life skills through theatre to disabled children when other states had turned her away. Rawal credits Modi for his political career. The actor says that the PM is the country’s last hope. “He’s a leader, a visionary and the last hope for our country. He works hard and cannot be corrupted. Look at how he transformed Gujarat. He’s made me think about giving back to society,” says Rawal.

The actor says that violence in the name of the religion has been on the rise and it is not good for the country. He adds that the PM has nothing to do with anyone who is trying to create a hostile & violent environment. When asked about the PM’s silence on certain issues, Rawal says that the PM doesn’t wish to give such matters any prominence. The actor slammed the media for carrying out the agenda of hate politics.

Rawal is working on several projects, but what fans are awaiting is his most ambitious project till date. It’s a biopic on PM Modi, which is also being produced by the actor. The shooting is scheduled to begin in October. When asked if the film may come across as propaganda, the actor replies, “I don’t care.”

One man has played Sardar Vallabhai Patel & is preparing to play the role of the mightiest leader in Indian history, PM Modi. Apart from the state of Gujarat, all Modi fans might be looking up to him. At the end of the day, believer or non-believer, he won’t have any regrets.

Source: The Indian Express

Alok Shetty