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Rajya Sabha's CELEB quotient over the years

Last updated on: April 27, 2012 09:15 IST

Prithviraj Kapoor

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Rediff News Desk

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and actress of yesteryear Rekha were among four eminent persons who were recommended for nomination as members of Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Their nomination now includes them in the list of celebrities who have turned politicos. Several leading personalities from the field of art, films, literature and sports have over the years been nominated to the upper house of the Indian Parliament -- with some of them playing a very active role.

Rediff.com lists a few celebs who have donned the role of a politician in the Rajya Sabha.              

The patriarch of the Kapoor family of Hindi films, Prithviraj Kapoor, was honoured by the the government of India with the Padma Bhushan in 1969 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1971 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.

Kapoor did a supporting role in India's first film talkie, Alam Ara (1931).

Prithviraj Kapoor remained nominated as a Rajya Sabha member for eight years.

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Image: Prithviraj with his sons Raj, Shashi and Shammi Kapoor


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Vyjayanthimala

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An actress, dancer, carnatic singer, golfer and a Parliamentarian, Vyjayanthimala was one the biggest Bollywood stars with a career spanning almost two decades. She was conferred with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1982, the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists.

After quitting films, Vyjayanthimala took an interest in politics. Her political career was initiated in 1984 when she contested in the Tamil Nadu general election for the South Chennai constituency as the nominee of the Indian National Congress.

She was close to Indira Gandhi and was elected twice to the Lok Sabha and was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. However, she quit due to differences with the Congress party in the year 1999.

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Image: Vyjayanthimala in Amrapali


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Nargis Dutt

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One of the greatest actresses of Indian cinema Nargis Dutt, she is best-known for her role of Radha in the Academy Award-nominated Mother India. The performance won her the best actress trophies at the Filmfare Awards and the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. 

In the early 1970s, she became the first patron of Spastics Society of India, and her work with the organisation brought her recognition as a social worker. She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1980.

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Image: Nargis Dutt in a scene from Mother India


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Hema Malini

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An actress, director, producer, Bharatanatyam dancer-choreographer, Hema Malini is one of the most successful female film stars of Indian cinema.

In 2000 she was honoured with the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honour, by the Government of India. She has also served as the chairperson of the National Film Development Corporation. 

A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Hema Malini was nominated member by the party in the Rajya Sabha during 2003�.

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Image: Hema Malini and Dharmendra
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Shabana Azmi

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Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, Shabana Azmi has won the National Film Award for best actress five times.

Azmi is a women's rights activist and has used her celebrity status to emerge as a high-profile social activist. She was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund.

Shabana Azmi was nominated member of the Rajya Sabha in 1997. She is married to Indian poet and screenwriter Javed Akhtar, also a Rajya Sabha member.

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Image: Shabana Azmi with Javed Akhtar
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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Javed Akhtar

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A poet, lyricist and scriptwriter, Javed Akhtar was awarded the Padma Shri award by the Government of India in 1999 and received the Padma Bhushan in 2007. Akhtar has won the National Award five times.

Javed Akhtar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2010. The lyricist had said that he would take up relevant causes for the people and not just hold onto the Rajya Sabha seat.

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Image: Javed Akhtar
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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Shyam Benegal

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Shyam Benegal is a director and screenwriter who created a new genre in Indian cinema now come to be called middle cinema.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991.

On 8 August 2007, Benegal was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005. He has won the National Film Award for best feature film in Hindi seven times.

Shyam Benegal was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2006.

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Photographs: Getty Images

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MF Husain

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Maqbool Fida Husain, who rose from a Bollywood billboard artist to India's most celebrated painter worldwide, was known as India's very own 'Picasso'. 

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986.

In 1991, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.

Husain's career and success closely mirrored the meteoric rise of contemporary Indian art on the international stage.

In February 2006, Hussain was charged with hurting sentiments of people. In the wake of legal challenges and death threats in his home country, he moved abroad in self-imposed exile.

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RK Narayan

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An author, RK Narayan was one of three leading figures of early Indian literature in English. 

In a career that spanned over sixty years, Narayan received many awards and honours. These include the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature and the Padma Vibhushan, India's second-highest civilian award.

In 1980, Narayan was nominated to the Rajya Sabha for his contributions to literature. During his entire six-year term, he was focused on one issue -- the plight of school children.

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Khushwant Singh

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A novelist and journalist Khushwant Singh is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan in 1974, the second highest civilian award in India, for service to his country.

In 1984, he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. In 2007, the Indian government awarded Singh the Padma Vibhushan.

From 1980 through 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha.

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Image: Khushwant Singh at a book launch function
Photographs: Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/Rediff.com

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Lata Mangeshkar

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She is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India and is the second vocalist to have ever been awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.

Mangeshkar was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records from 1974 to 1991 for having made the most recordings in the world. 

In 1999, Mangeshkar was nominated as a member of Rajya Sabha. However, she did not attend the Rajya Sabha sessions regularly, inviting criticism from several members of the House.

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Jaya Prada

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Jaya Prada is an actress and politician who was initiated into the Telugu Desam Party by her former co-star N T Rama Rao in 1994. However, she broke away from him and joined the Chandrababu Naidu faction of the party.

She was nominated to the Rajya Sabha representing Andhra Pradesh in 1996.

Following differences with party supremo Chandrababu Naidu, she left TDP to join Samajwadi Party and contested from Rampur parliamentary Constituency in UP during the last general election in 2004 and got elected. 

Jayaprada was expelled from the party on February 2, 2010, on the charge of indulging in activities inimical to its political interests and damaging its image.

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Jaya Bachchan

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An actress and politician, Jaya Bachchan is recognised as one of the finest Hindi film actresses of her time.

Bachchan was elected as a Samajwadi Party Member of Parliament, representing Rajya Sabha.

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Image: Jaya Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan
Photographs: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

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Rekha

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An actress noted for her versatility and acknowledged as one of the finest actresses in Hindi cinema, Rekha has acted in over 180 films in a career spanning over 40 years. Her portrayal of a classical courtesan in Umrao Jaan won her the National Film Award for Best Actress.

Rekha, known for her brilliant and emotional portrayals in Hindi cinema in the 80s, will become a Member of Parliament under a provision of the Constitution that allows the President to nominate 12 members to the Upper House.

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Sachin Tendulkar

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A sportsman widely considered by many to be one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Sachin is the leading run-scorer and century maker in test and one-day international cricket. 

Sachin Tendulkar joined the league of celebrities who have turned politicians. President Partibha Patil accepted Tendulkar's nomination as a member of the Rajya Sabha making him the first active sportsperson to be a representative in the Upper House. 

He is the first active sportsperson and cricketer to have been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.




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