Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed actor Sunny Deol into the Bharatiya Janata Party today by addressing him with flattering adjectives such as a "firebrand" and "young actor". While all the praises can go without an objection, many on Twitter say "young" is a faux pas as the popular actor is 62-years-old, three years senior to Ms Sitharaman.
"I am indeed very happy to receive firebrand popular, very committed to his art, young great artist from Bollywood Shri Sunny Deol," the defence minister said.
With a plethora of acclaims, Ms Sitharaman, 59, went on to Mr Deol's blockbuster 1997 movie "Border" based on an episode from the India-Pakistan war of 1971.
"Sunny Deol made the film Border which showed how the feeling of nationalism and patriotism when portrayed beautifully on film can touch a cord with the people," Ms Sitharaman said, linking the brand new BJP recruit to the party's top election pitch of national security and its strong stand against terror from Pakistan.
The slip drew a lot of reactions and Twitterati tore into the comment.
Young artist?He is older to you!- Preesha Nath (@eagleeyes3112) April 23, 2019
Young ????????????????????— Zaid burny???????? (@drZaidburny) April 23, 2019
What young ? In 8 years he will be in margadharshak mandal- Sathish Sarvodaya/Order of andrew the apostle (@SathiSarva) April 23, 2019
Mr Deol has also been named the BJP candidate from Punjab's Gurdaspur, which is scheduled to go to polls in the last phase on May 19.
Showering praises on the actor was also Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, who said Mr Deol's films have inspired the youth, invoked nationalism in the country and increased the morale of defence forces.
Adding, "It cannot be acting when it comes from the heart," Mr Goyal, 54, said he hopes Mr Deol will work from his heart in his political career as well.
Sunny Deol, 62, debuted in films with the movie "Betaab" in 1983. Over the years, he excelled in action hero roles in films like "Ghayal", "Gadar: Ek Prem Katha", "Damini" and "Border".
He is the third Deol to join politics - and the BJP - after his father Dharmendra and his wife Hema Malini, also mega actors for decades. Hema Malini, Sunny Deol's stepmother, is fighting for re-election from Uttar Pradesh's Mathura.