Smriti Irani Biography

An Indian politician, erstwhile model, television actress and producer, Smriti Irani celebrated her 44th birthday this year. Hailing from the transcultural middle-class family, she is the eldest daughter of a Punjabi-Maharashtrian father Ajay Kumar Malhotra and Bengali mother Shibani Bagchi. She has two sisters. She went to Holy Child Auxilium School in New Delhi for her early education and enlisted herself in Bachelors of Commerce at Delhi University’s School of Open Learning. She dropped out her college after appearing for the B.Com. first-year exams.

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As her grandfather was an RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Swayamsewak Sangh) and her mother was a Jana Sangh member, she also became a part of RSS.

Due to her good command over the languages English, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati and Marathi, she has always been in demand for rallies and campaigns. She is also considered as the most important face of the BJP in media communications.

Smriti Irani Political Career

Smriti Irani is currently serving as the Union Cabinet Minister of India. 

After class 10, she put her endeavours in meeting her family’s financial needs and worked for the promotion of a beauty product by making Rs. 200 per day. Later, Smriti instigated her career in 1998 by contesting in a beauty pageant ‘Femina Miss India’. When she couldn’t make it in the Top Nine, she decided to tempt the gods in other areas. She also worked at McDonalds as a waitressto make her ends meet. Meanwhile, she got an opportunity to work with Mika Singh in 1998 in a song of his album ‘Saawan Mein Lag Gayi Aag’. She made her first on-screen appearance in a TV serial Aatish and Hum Hain Kal Aaj Aur Kal which were broadcast on Star Plus in 2000. She was portrayed in serial Kavita aired on DD metro. Ekta Kapoor’s mother Shobha Kapoor, a TV producer noticed her when she was hosting a show named Bakeman’s Ooh La La. In the mid-2000, she got an offer to portray the role of Tulsi Virani, a lead character in Ekta Kapoor’s production ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ aired on Star Plus. Even though Smriti never watched even a single episode of the serial, she was the most loved bahu of every Indian household which was telecast for eight years.

She belled the cat in various modelling assignments before the television stints. She rose to fame with the entertainment biz and had good links with Ekta Kapoor who supported her in getting more assignments aired on Star Network. During her career, she appeared in just three Bollywood movies and one Bengali movie. In 2001, she was also seen playing the character of Sita in Zee TV’s Ramayan. She worked as a TV host for a dance-based reality show named Yeh Hai Jalwa on 9X in 2008. She made her debut as a TV producer for the serial ‘Virrudh’ for Sony TV in 2007.

In 2003, while her program ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’ was at its peak, she stepped in politics by joining BJP and in 2004. Smriti contested from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi against Congress candidate Kapil Sibal for 14th Lok Sabha Elections. Later in the same year, she emerged as a Vice-President for the Maharashtra youth wing. In May 2009, she solicited votes for Vijay Goel’s candidature in New Delhi and raised her voice for women’s safety in the capital. She proposed capital punishment for ravishers as a restraint. She set the world on fire thereafter and was designated as the national secretary of the party and the President of the party’s women’s wing in 2010. In 2011, she was appointed as a Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat. In 2014 general elections, she filed the nomination opposite Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi from Amethi Legislative Assembly of Uttar Pradesh but lost to Gandhi by 1,07,923 votes with 12.32 per cent margin.

On 26th May 2014, she was named as the Minister of Human Resource Development by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his council of ministers. Some people opposed the idea of her appointment on account of lack of her higher education. During her term, she faced a lot of criticism from the opposition parties.

In the year 2016, the cabinet was reshuffled and the Ministry of Human Resource Development was preempted by Smriti Irani and was accustomed to Ministry of Textiles. In July 2017, she was assigned the additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India) when erstwhile minister M.Venkaiah Naidu renounced from the Ministry to contest in Vice-Presidential Elections. During her tenure, she made big attempts to make IFFI (International Film Festival of India) the most comprehensive, relevant forum for Indian cinema. The event was successful and cinematic works were conferred in audio-described format for the visually impaired under the Accessible India Campaign of the Government of India. She also outpaced the State-run broadcaster Doordarshan net revenue over the annual target of Rs. 800 crore in the financial year 2017 during her term. 

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In May 2018, the additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was preempted by Irani and was given to Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

In 2019, Smriti fought the Lok Sabha Elections opposite Rahul Gandhi in the Amethi constituency of Uttar Pradesh and made a history triumphing with the difference of 55,120 polls. Although Congress candidate Rahul Gandhi took the family loyalty factor for granted, Smriti kept on making her visits to Amethi and focussed on Modi government’s work on how the Centre for the Poor in Amethi built the record number of toilets and houses. She was also named the principal portfolio Union Minister for Women and Child Development in the second term of the Modi Government.

Smriti Irani Awards

Smriti Irani has received several recognitions for her commendable jobs in various sectors. 

  • She bagged five consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 as Best Actress (Popular) for her character as Tulsi Virani in the serial ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. In 2010, she acquired ITA Milestone Award for the same role by Indian Television Academy Awards. 
  • In 2002, 2003 and 2007, she was conferred with Indian Telly Awards. 
  • In 2005, she was commended with Gr8! Women Achiever’s Awards. 
  • In 2014, Smriti was felicitated by Garv Indian TV Awards for Best TV Personality of the Decade. 
  • In 2015, the World Economic Forum honoured Irani from India by giving a title of Young Global Leader. This award has been conferred to the leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron, Alibaba Group chief Jack Ma, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google chief Larry Page, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
  • Irani was also accredited as India’s USAID Goodwill Ambassador for WHO-ORS program for 3 years. 
  • In 2019, Irani’s name was recorded in Femina’s Power List under the theme ‘Women Who Changed The Game’ for her Amethi’s sweep over congress President Rahul Gandhi. 
  • In the 126th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Irani was collectively chosen as a Member representing the Asia Pacific Region to the Task Force responsible for setting up the first-ever Committee for Young Parliamentarians. 

Smriti Irani Personal Life

Although her marriage saga is debatable, Smriti is leading a happy married life. In 2001, Smriti exchanged conjugal vows with Parsi entrepreneur named Zubin Irani and the couple is blessed with two kids – one son named Zohr and one daughter named Zoish. She also has a step-daughter named Shanelle who is Zubin Irani’s daughter from her ex-wife, a co-ordinator and former beauty contestant Mona Irani. Shanelle is studying law at Georgetown University in the United States. 

Smriti enjoys the avocations like Doing Yoga, Listening to Music, Travelling and Playing Carom in her spare time. Gujarati cuisines, Pizza and Chocolates are amongst her favourite foodstuff. Her most cherished fruit is strawberry. Dharmendra, Saif Ali Khan and Shahrukh Khan top her list of actors and she likes Rekha and Hema Malini as actresses. She enjoys watching her favourite cartoon show Tom and Jerry. Mr India (1987) and Avengers Series are her most liked movies. She admires Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Narendra Modi. Besides, Shekhar Kapur is her favorite filmmaker.

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