Smriti Zubin Irani was born on 23 March 1976 and she is an Indian television actress, producer and politician, popularly known from the famous Hindi television soap opera, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, in which she played the main character of Tulsi Virani.
Her character "Tulsi" was of the ideal wife, mother, and family member. The huge initial success and the subsequent continued patronage of the largely female audience of the show has been instrumental in changing the fortunes of the production house Balaji Telefilms and in creating a successful genre of tearjerker family dramas, which still continues in the Indian TV industry. In 2003, she joined the Bharatiya Janata Party which was quick to give her a ticket to fight the Lok Sabha elections from Delhi's Chandni Chowk constituency. Although she suffered a defeat in the elections, she continued with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while most other actors who had joined the party during the time deserted the party. Her commitment and hard work made the party realize her true potential and it made her a member of the National Executive (the highest decision making body of the Party) as also Secretary BJP Maharashtra and a member of the Maharashtra Executive. Smriti Irani while campaigning for the BJP has traveled the length and breath of India and interacted with various people understanding India’s diverse culture. She also runs her own “NGO” under the name of People for Change, which is providing drinking water to the poor in India’s remote areas. Today Smriti Irani has also turned a producer with her own entertainment company Ugraya Entertainment. Its first production Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan (A little bit of land a little bit of sky) was in collaboration with Balaji Telefilms, after which her company entered into a strategic alliance with the Aditya Birla Group for producing software for television with it’s first production being Virrudh (Opposite/Against), a daily soap for Sony TV. Besides producing television drama-series, Smriti's production house also has produced two stage presentations Kuch Tum Kaho, Kuch Hum Kahein (Something you say, somethings I will say), a social comedy and Maniben.com, a comedy.
Early life and education
Smriti Malhotra now Smriti Zubin Irani was born on 23 March 1976 in Delhi. Eldest among 3 sisters, her father owned a courier service. Her father is Punjabi and her mother is Bengali. smriti studied in holy child auxilium school in vasant vihar in new delhi. In her school days Smriti became sports captain and tried her hand out in singing. Smriti was an introvert and got her education through correspondence. At the age of 16, Smriti started selling beauty products on street side and took that as a working experience.
Smriti then decided to come out of her dad's shadow and do something of her own, got enrolled for Femina Miss India competition. Initially her father was against her decision but with her mother's support, Smriti made it to finals of the competition but couldn't win the crown and the actual struggle started for Smriti. Smriti had borrowed Rs.2 lakh from her father as loan and had to pay back. In order to pay back the loan and survive in the city of Mumbai, Smriti applied for flight-attendant position and was rejected. Smriti then went up to several auditions for commercials but was rejected for the simple reason that she did not look like an Indian Woman. In order to survive Smiriti took up a job at a fast-food-joint serving people and sweeping floors.
Simultaneously, Smriti kept auditioning at various places like MTV and other production houses and coincidentally got to host a show on Star Plus called Bakeman's Oo La La. It was on this show that Shobha Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms saw and introduced Smriti to her daughter Ekta Kapoor, who auditioned her for Hum Paanch serial for the role of Sweety but was not able to make there. It was after 3 months that Smriti was called again by Balaji to audition for the role of Tulsi in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Over night Tulsi became popular with the masses across the globe and Smriti became face of every Indian Woman and after that there was no looking back. One after another Smriti attained heights of success that no other Indian Television Actor has achieved so far. After playing Tulsi for years, Smriti took forward another step in her career in TV industry by starting her own production house called Ugraya Entertainment Pvt Ltd, she initially produced a play in Hindi called Kuch Tum Kaho Kuch Hum Kahein and later on a Gujarati play title Maniben.com. Both her ventures were an instant hit at the box office. After this success venture, Smriti along with Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms produced a show for Star Plus called Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan where she played protagonist Uma. Later she produced show for Sony called Virruddh where she played main protagonist Vasudha. With the success of Virruddh, a rift took place between Ekta Kapoor and Smriti which made Smriti leave iconic character of Tulsi in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi which made her household name. Along with career in television and theatre, Smriti plunged into politics with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in 2003. In 2004 she unsuccessfully contested for Lok Sabha from Chandni Chowk constituency. Her dedication made her Vice-President of BJP's youth wing in Maharashtra along with National Executive of the state.
Smriti apart from being an actor/producer/politician is also a social worker and has formed her own NGO called People For Change which provides clean drinking water to villages. The funding of NGO is done by Smriti from her own earning. In addition Smriti lend a helping hand to the people affected by Mumbai floods in 2005 by gathering food-grains with the help of radio channel and network of people. Smriti has also adopted around 15 poor children and she looks after their education. Smriti is actively involved in politics and social work. She is busy with her new Gujarati play title Muktidham which is produced by her own company.
Smriti was born in a delhi based family and was eldest amongst three sisters. Her father who owned courier company is a Punjabi and mother is a Bengali. Smriti was highly influenced by her grandfather who had complete faith in her and who is her role model in life. In January 2001 Smriti married Zubin Irani. Smriti gave birth to a baby boy Zohr and later to a baby girl on 23 September 2003 named Zoish. Smriti is also a mother to Shanelle who is Zubin's daughter from his previous marriage.
Exit from Kyunki and re-entry
On April 2007, Smriti decided to quit Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi due to a fall-out between her and her producer, Ekta Kapoor. Many opined that conflicts between Smriti's commitment towards Kyunki and her ambitious drive to seek an independent identity via her home productions caused friction between herself and Ekta. The final nail in the coffin was thought to be over the issue of finances between Ekta and Smriti, where the latter demanded a raise and the former rejected. Her last show produced shows Smriti's last episode was on 6 June 2007 where she dies in a truck accident. After a long hiatus of 11 months, amidst the decline of Kyunki's viewership, Smriti step backed into her role in a highly publicized affair, where she buried her hatchet with Ekta Kapoor in a public appearance. She re-appeared on 10 April 2008 in a special episode. Media analysts speculated that the compromise between Ekta and Smriti was a mutual understanding that neither benefited from the other's separation. Due to these reasons, Smriti decided to re-join Kyunki; hoping to boost Kyunki's waning viewership. However, Smriti's arrival did bring significant changes in viewership for instance but after sometime it seemed that the show had eroded from the public mind due to the erratic changes in the show's storylines and the arrival of social themed shows on competing channels. Due to this continuing trend, Star Plus abruptly ended its contract with Balaji Telefilms on 6 November 2008, ending one of the most successful Indian soap opera in modern Indian television industry alongside the most popular and recognizable character, Tulsi, portrayed by Smriti. However, Ekta Kapoor during the end of Kyunki claimed to resume the show on a different channel. However, nothing happened then.
Smriti Irani joined leading political Party, Bharatiya Janta Party in 2003. The party gave her a ticket to fight 2004 Lok Sabha Elections from the Chandni Chowk's constituency of Delhi. However, Smriti lost the election, but that didn't affect her political ambition. With her dedication and drive party was quick enough to make her vice-president of the youth wing of BJP in Maharashtra. Smriti today is National Secretary of the party and play a key role in party's campaigns and strategies.She now is the president of the BJP Mahila Morcha.
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