Ending all speculation, famed Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar joined the Congress in the national capital on Wednesday afternoon. Matondkar, 45, who shot to fame as a child star in Masoom (1983), is likely to be named the Congress candidate for the Mumbai North Lok Sabha seat.
It may be recalled that IANS had first reported on March 25 how her name was in "an advanced stage of consideration by the party high command" and the final decision would be announced shortly. Welcomed into the party by top Congress leaders, including party President Rahul Gandhi, Matondkar dismissed all apprehensions and said, "I am here to stay - even after the elections."
If nominated, Matondkar's formidable rival would be Bharatiya Janata Party incumbent MP Gopal Shetty in the constituency, which was once regarded a BJP bastion. Mumbai's six Lok Sabha constituencies are going to the polls on April 29, along with 17 others in the state's fourth phase of elections. However, it was Bollywood actor Govinda (Ahuja) who had earned the title of 'giant-killer' in 2004 when - in a major upset - he trounced former Union Petroleum Minister Ram Naik, who is now the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
[caption id="attachment_236636" align="aligncenter" width="1280"] Milind Deora and Rahul Gandhi[/caption]
In 2009, Naik had faced his second consecutive defeat, this time at the hands of the Congress's Sanjay Nirupam. But, in 2014, Nirupam was defeated by Shetty during the BJP-wave which catapulted Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister. The name of Matondkar, 45, married to a Kashmiri, M.A. Mir, has been doing the rounds since the past few days as the Congress grappled for an effective counter to the BJP.
Starting her film career as a seven-year-old child star in a Marathi film, Zaakol (1980), she later got her first role in Bollywood in the Shashi Kapoor-Rekha starrer Kalyug (1981). But, it was the highly-acclaimed Shekhar Kapur-directed film, Masoom (1983), that catapulted her to fame and significantly boosted her film career.
[caption id="attachment_236639" align="aligncenter" width="496"] L-R: Milind Deora, Urmila Matondkar, Rahul Gandhi, Sanjay Nirupam[/caption]
Later, she worked with some of the biggest actors in major films like Dacait, Bade Ghar Ki Beti, Narasimha, Chamatkar, Aa Gale Lag Jaa (opposite Jugal Hansraj, the child co-star of Masoom), Rangeela, Indian, Judaai, Daud, Satya, Kaun, Mast, Dillagi, Khoobsurat, Jungle, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, Ek Hasina Thi, Om Jai Jagadish, Bhoot, Pinjar, Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara and Speed, among others. Besides, she has acted in Marathi and South Indian language films and several television serials.
Incidentally, besides Mumbai North-West (now, Mumbai North-Central), Mumbai North is the only Lok Sabha constituency in the country's commercial capital which has elected a well-known film personality. The late union minister and actor Sunil Dutt had been elected from Mumbai North-West five times and the baton later passed on to his daughter Priya Dutt.