New Delhi: He rose to stardom from an 'extra' in films. Yesteryears' tinsel town hero Biswajeet says his confidence in himself and his party, the Trinamool Congress, would take him forward in the high profile electoral fight for the New Delhi constituency in the heart of the Indian capital.
The 77-year-old actor, whose Hindi films "Bees Saal Baad" (1962) and "Kohraa" (1964) among others were huge hits, said he will launch his campaign later this week by holding meetings with residents of his constituency and some other events.
The actor, whose surname is Chatterjee, says the high profile of his opponents does not bother him. He is pitted against the Congress' Ajay Maken, Bharatiya Janata Party's Meenakshi Lekhi and Aam Admi Party's Ashish Khetan, a journalist.
"I was an extra when I entered Bengali films. I did bit roles, but I rose to become a top star in Tollywood (Bengali films) and later in Bollywood too. So, the big names I am pitted against does not bother me," Biswajeet told IANS in an interview.
The actor, who romanced top actresses of his time like Asha Parekh, Mala Sinha and Waheeda Rehman on screen, also feels his late entry into politics is not a disadvantage.
"I see it as an advantage. Age brings experience and maturity... Unlike in youngsters who get all excited and agitated, age brings in a mature outlook," said the actor.
Biswajeet terms his entry into politics his "third innings", with his foray into Bengali films, and then Hindi films being the first two innings.
What made him join politics?
"I had always been a supporter of the Trinamool Congress and have worked closely with Didi (TMC chief Mamata Banerjee) for many years. The thought of entering politics did strike me some years ago, but it is only now that things fell into place and I decided to officially take the plunge," Biswajeet told IANS.
Biswajeet's candidature for Delhi was decided by none other than party chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
A thought behind the party fielding him from Delhi was with an eye on the capital's Bengali population, especially those living in the 'mini Bengal' neighbourhood of Chittaranjan Park.
There was a bit of a controversy with choice of the seat as the party mistakenly thought that Chittaranjan Park is part of South Delhi and had announced Biswajeet's name for the constituency. But realizing that the colony falls in the New Delhi constituency, the party did a quick correction and Biswajeet has been fielded for the prestigious New Delhi seat.
"I feel honoured that my leader (Banerjee) decided to field me from this prestigious constituency," said Biswajeet, comparing his chances at the hustings to a T-20 match where "no one knows who is going to win or lose".
"Any team can defeat anyone.. I don't feel that any candidate is particularly strong," he added.
Biswajeet says his party's secular outlook and its work among the commoners is a sure winner. "My party's slogan of Ma, Mati, Maanush signifies its strong links with the grassroots," he said.
The Bengali slogan Ma, Mati, Maanush, which means mother, the soil of the motherland, and humanity, was coined by the TMC chief during the 2009 general elections and became very popular.