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    Actors gaining acceptance in politics: Vinod Khanna

    [Interview by Surender Bhutani]
    Wednesday, May 11, 2005
    The entry of film stars in politics is a sign that Indian democracy is maturing and people are no longer sceptical about the commitment of actors to their work, says actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Gurdaspur was in the Polish capital on a four-day visit to attend the convention of the newly established political party - Partia Democracia.

    "The entry of film stars into active politics is a positive sign. It shows that Indian democracy is maturing," Khanna told IANS in an interview here.
    "Earlier this phenomenon was confined to southern India but gradually film stars have made their presence felt in politics in northern India too."
    Through their hard work and commitment, actors had changed the public perception that stars were not serious about politics and were there just for fun, said the former minister of state for external affairs in the Vajpayee government.
    "We actors have become communicators for the problems of the masses and we sincerely want to make India a strong nation. We may be in different parties but all of us have a common mission to uplift the masses."
    During his stay, the actor also attended the Indian Polo Cup tournament played Sunday. The Indian Army Team won the meet, defeating the Polish team.
    Asked about his mentor Sunil Dutt, also a former actor and a now a Congress party MP, Khanna said: "Dutt shares my idealism and his commitment to India and secularism is a matter of pride for me.
    "His integrity and his moral power is a lesson for all of us (actors), be it Dharmendra or Shatrughan Sinha. We all respect him and I will always hold him in high esteem."
    Khanna, known for his wild ways in Bollywood, admitted that guidance under spiritual guru Osho had been the turning point in his life.
    The spiritual teachings had strengthened his soul and made him realize the importance of doing noble deeds for fellow human beings.
    "My few years under the guidance of Osho infused a new spirit in me. I left the film industry for a few years when I was in the top bracket. When I re-entered the industry I was a more confident person.
    "The same confidence was and is with me after I joined active politics. My spiritual health allowed me to win three consecutive elections from Gurdaspur."
    He said the spirituality had helped him in his interactions with his counterparts from different countries as minister of state for external affairs.
    "I interacted with people from many different countries and I have succeeded in implanting the spiritual seed in their consciousness."

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