New Delhi, 26 May-2014, IANS: A transition from showbiz to politics has proved fruitful for Smriti Irani, who will now hold an important ministry in the Narendra Modi-led government, which was sworn in Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Here’s a glance at Smriti’s meteoric rise from being an enthusiastic model, beauty queen aspirant, successful actress, TV producer and now a minister.
– Born in Delhi in a Punjabi-Bengali family, Smriti, 38, is the eldest of three sisters.
– Her first brush with fame came when she tried her hand at modelling, and then she was a finalist in the Femina Miss India 1998 pageant. That set the ball rolling for her showbiz career – she auditioned for various projects in Mumbai and even worked at a McDonald’s outlet to support herself.
– She featured as a host on “Ooh La La La”, but her big ticket to success was Ekta Kapoor’s “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, in which she played Tulsi Virani, an idealistic daughter-in-law. The show, said to be the longest soap on Indian television, made her a household name.
– She continued to feature in TV shows and then turned a small screen producer with shows like “Virrudh” and “Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan”.
– Smriti’s tryst with politics began in 2003 when she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. After holding important positions like the national secretary of the party and All India President of the BJP Mahila Morcha in 2010, she became BJP’s Vice-President.
– While pursuing her political and acting career simultaneously, she also produced TV shows under her banner Ugraya Entertainment, feeding family viewing audiences with entertainers like “Virrudh” and “Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan”.
– She is married to her childhood friend Zubin Irani, a Parsi, and has two children – son Zohr and daughter Zoish.
– In the 2014 general elections, the gutsy Smriti took on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi constituency. She lost but gave her opponent a tough fight.