As far as Indian politics is concerned, 2014 remained a significant year. It was a time when Congress’ prospects were not looking bright and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) was poised to get a majority. While a new political outfit– Aam Aadmi Party was striving to emerge in the Indian political arena.
2014 Lok Sabha election was the first General Election contested by AAP, but it had decided to contest on 434 out of 543 seats, and for that they had needed a lot of candidates. AAP which had emerged from a non-political movement was looking for people who were renowned in different walks of life. The requirement in the candidate was a larger than life image to ensure better chances of winnability.
For Lok Sabha polls scheduled for April-May, they had been able to convince film actors like Javed Jaffrey and Gul Panag to contest on party tickets from Lucknow and Chandigarh. Apart from the film industry, AAP was successful in persuading activist Medha Patekar, banker Meera Sanyal and comedian Bhagwant Mann among others to contest for them.
But for Jaipur (Urban) Lok Sabha constitutency seat they were pursuing one major name in the global film industry — Irrfan Khan.
Jaipur being Irrfan’s native place, AAP strategist thought that if Irrfan agreed, they would certainly be able to win Rajasthan’s capital.
Irrfan, by 2014, had already made his mark not only as an Indian film star but globally too. By then the phenomenal actor had won National Award for Pan Singh Tomar, his commercially successful film Gunday had been released in February 2014 and Haider was scheduled to be released that October. Piku and Talvar were scheduled to release in 2015.
Internationally, Irrfan had already played important parts in a few Hollywood movies including Amazing Spider-Man and Life of Pi (both were released in 2012), while Jurassic World (2015) and Inferno (2016) were lined up.
Irrfan was contacted by a well-known doctor who was associated with AAP at that time, a senior member of AAP in Jaipur told eNewsroom.
He further recalled that when contacted Irrfan gave a straight reply. “Bhai, Mere Bas Ki Chij Nahi Politics (Politics is out of my league). And why should I ruin my good career by going into politics? Irrfan had posed the question to doctor sahib, on his proposal” revealed the AAP member.
“Irrfan had also said, if I join a political party people will start seeing my movies with a biased view,” he added.
When Irrfan turned down the offer, AAP had fielded Dr Virendra Singh, former Superintendent of Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital against BJP candidate Ramcharan Bohra. Singh lost coming in third place.
The author was in Jaipur in 2014, and covered Lok Sabha polls extensively.