wheel has come full circle for actress Bhagyashree, where
it all began for her. In television. In between, one big screen
blockbuster hit, Maine
turned her into an overnight sensation. Before she could quite
savour the fruits of her stardom, marriage came her way and
she faded out. Rarely mentioned in the media after her performance
in the box office bomb Kaid
Mai Hai Bul Bul
in the early '90s, she is presently to be seen in the tele-serial
a women caught between her career, marriage and another women
in her husband's life.
rendezvous with acting happened by chance when next door neighbour
Amol Palekar, a renowned actor director, requested her to
step in and act in his serial Kacchi
the actress who had been signed on had abandoned the serial
abruptly. The serial did well and later on she had roles in
Miya Biwi Ke.
got into movies also quite by chance. "I was contemplating
heading offshore to secure a degree in maybe management or
so when the offer for acting in a movie came by and I decided
to give it a shot. The decision was made very casually," recalls
Bhagyashree. The superstardom she got after her debut in Sooraj
Barjatya's low budget film Maine
which went on to become a mega-hit towards the end of the
'80s was phenomenal. Then a fresh face on the silver screen,
her popularity rose among people who were charmed by her innocent
One expected her to surge ahead, but that was not to be. After
her first movie she tied the knot. After marriage she acted
in three movies: Peepat's Qaid
Main Hai Bulbul,
K.C. Bokadia's Tyagi
Mahendra Shah's Payal
opposite her husband Himalaya. However all these movies sank
without a trace.
eventually after a gap of a few years, she did made a comeback
of sorts, and this time round it was back to television with
where she plays a politician. By now a mother of two growing
children, one 11 and the other 6, she was seen in Didi
a comedy serial on national broadcaster Doordarshan and a
tele-film where she plays a blind person.
correspondent Harsha Khot caught up with Bhagyashree while
she was shooting for a pilot at Juhu.
Excepts from the interview:
It has been
quite a while since we last read about you, what is the reason
I had three or four bad experiences with the media. That's
when I decided to keep clear of it.
sort of bad experiences?
Well, I have been misinterpreted and at other times it has
just been a bad experience with the media. Soon after completing
Maine Pyar Kiya I got married and had a child. This
particular incident took place in hospital soon after my child
was born. A lady who identified herself as a representative
of a magazine insisted on meeting me and was waiting for hours
together, so my husband let her in. But immediately after
congratulating me the next thing she asked was whether I was
having an affair with my co-star! As it is after the delivery
I was very weak and the last thing I wanted to confront was
something as ridiculous as this! Of course, my husband threw
her out of the room, but yet the magazine she represented
went on to write untrue articles. Firstly they misinterpreted
me and secondly they wrote things that I didn't even say.
did you get your first break into television?
It was soon after my exams got over and I was all set to go
abroad for further studies. It was during that time that Amol
Palekar uncle, who was my neighbour, was making Kacchi
Dhup, a serial based on Emily Bronte's Three Little
Women. But the shoot was put on hold as the girl they
had signed up eloped with her boyfriend leaving the unit in
the lurch. Sheela aunty (Palekar's former wife) came home
that night and requested that I act in the serial since it
was difficult to find a replacement at such short notice.
My younger sister was already acting in it. However, despite
giving all possible reasons to wriggle out, she coaxed and
cajoled me into agreeing to do the serial. Since it was to
be shot during the vacations it would not hinder my work and
I agreed and after that everything changed for me. The serial
went on to become popular.
you were new to acting what was it like facing the camera
for the first time?
Surprisingly I was more curious about how things were being
done than nervous. I was more involved in knowing how the
shots were taken and trying to understand different angles
and such. Beside, since it was Amol uncle I was comfortable.
How did you get your break in movies?
Was stepping into movies a big decision? I guess they
noticed me in the serial. But then again the decision
to act in movies wasn't easy. It was the same affair
of saying 'no' and having to be convinced into taking
up the role. At that point acting in serials was fine
with me and since I was in college there were problems
of dates. I also had certain inhibitions about getting
into too much physical proximity to the actor and other
such reasons. However, again they agreed to accommodate
me so the situation was such that I was at a loss how
to say 'no'. It is then I thought to myself 'Why not'.
drifted into acting, so when did you start taking it seriously?
I always take my assignments seriously. The problem is in
my being convinced to do something. Once you agree to go ahead
it is essential that you take it seriously. After all, other
people's time, money and effort is at stake.
do you emote while enacting the character?
Considering the sort of person I am, I would rather do things
knowing the details of it. I need to discuss the character
with the director. While the shot is being taken I don't think
much about the dialogues that I have to say, but instead think
from the technical aspect like what kind of a shot is going
to be taken. Would it start with a long shot, followed by
a close up? Is the other person going to say his/her dialogue,
then what kind of shot would be taken of me reacting to the
costar? The technical aspects make me understand where the
shot will be edited. If you know the technical aspects of
it then it helps you grow as a performer. It also gives you
an idea about where the shot would be edited which in turn
helps you in deciding where and when to give reactions and
you academically inclined since you were planning to go abroad
for studies before acting happened? If not become an actress
what else would you have done?
Now if I think about it, probably this is the thing I wanted
to do all my life. It is very strange. Initially I always
felt that acting would never be my forte, but neither would
I have been comfortable in a 9 to 5 desk job.
I would have loved to be a lawyer, but considering the way
law functions in India it probably would have been frustrating.
Also my father wasn't really for it.
It has been a long gap since we last saw you?
Not really. I did a couple of movies down South. So
when I wasn't shooting here, as in the Hindi circuit,
I did two Kannada, two Telugu and even two Bangladeshi
Bhagyashree with Ayub khan in tele serial
movies are in different languages. How did you adjust to it?
I think it's only the initial one week when you face a problem.
Actually most of our languages eventually come down to Sanskrit.
So if you have the basic idea of Sanskrit then you can understand
Are you well versed with Sanskrit?
Well I have fair idea about basic Sanskrit. My father
knows a lot of slokas and we've been brought up with that
kind of culture. So I essentially know what certain words
What is your background?
I come from a royal family as in my father is a maharaja
of Sangli. He has done everything except become a doctor.
He has done his MBA and law. I was brought up with a conservative
outlook toward life. For instance I had to get back home before
sundown. But otherwise a basic inherent culture and tradition
was inculcated in our family.
What does acting mean to you?
an actress it gives me a lot of satisfaction doing divergent
roles. Acting is my hobby, and being able to play different
characters, different personnae gives a certain satisfaction.
You get to enact things and behave in ways not normal
to your day-to-day life. It is exciting.
What do you look for in a script? Essentially
it should give me a chance to link myself with the audience.
It should give me a chance where the performance stands
out from the script as a whole. It could even be a 10-minute
role but it should have some potential that the audience
can relate to.
are the other factors that you consider while signing up a
The director. He is the captain of the ship. If the director
is extremely fixed about his ideas and does not give freedom
of movement then it can get very constrained. It becomes very
difficult for me personally. As an actress you put in a lot
of things from within other than dialogues and movements.
It should not be mechanical. Because if that was the case,
then you can get work done out of a donkey.
I listen very closely when the director narrates the script.
How the character is going to be projected, what potential
does the role have for me? The way the director narrates the
story means a lot to me, because if the flow and style of
the story's narration is good it sparks a hope that the project
is going to be good. Otherwise if you are not happy with the
way the story and the character is narrated to you then you
are not going to be happy with the way you are going to be
Apart from that I have other constraints like I don't take
long schedules. Five days max if there is any outdoor schedule.
Anything longer I will have to give the go bye no matter how
meaty the role is.
challenging roles that you have especially enjoyed?
The character of the politician played in Aandhi Jasbato
Ki, nearly four years ago. The role is about a strong
woman with a touch of the real life politicians who enters
into politics at the age of 25. The age of the character develops
gradually from 25 to 50. To bring out the touch of an older
women, I accordingly changed the behavior pattern. It was
quite interesting. It was challenging because everybody was
uncertain whether I would be able to handle the role well
considering the range the character portrayed. They considered
me as too young to justify the role.
do you prepare before a shoot?
I don't prepare at all. However somewhere along the line subconsciously
one tends to pick up a lot of things that contribute. For
Aandhi Jasbato Ki watching politicians on screen helped.
Otherwise I would ponder over how an older women would react
to things, keeping in mind the social image that the character
would have, rather than essay a particular person.
How do you perceive yourself as an actress?
I am an actress who is limited by my situation. I am first
a daughter-in-law, a mother, a wife and only then an actress.
these limited roles which are the ones that you would not
That of a prostitute or that which requires one to be loud
or crass. Also the ones where you have to show extreme hatred
or require physical proximity, be it in the form of love or
I cannot relate to it. Besides I would not be comfortable
doing those roles.
role that you feel close to?
The one in Laqeer, mainly because it was break off
from what people expect from me as an actress? Directed by
Arun Frank, the character has lot of grey shades initially
but later they mellow down. It is close to me because a lot
of times you want to be a little nasty to a person but then
on second thoughts you don't. Human conduct makes a person
speak a little softer. This character said what she felt like
no matter what. And of course Maine Pyar Kiya will
always remain close. While shooting for this movie a lot of
things were running parallel in my personal life. Like the
scene in the movie where they Reemaji (Lagoo) and (costar)
Salman (Khan) get together and pull the character's leg by
discussing the proposal of a prospective bridegroom that has
come for Salman. During that time I was seeing Himalayaji,
he and his mother would pull my leg in a similar manner. Then
the marriage sequence in the movie was held three days prior
to my marriage in real life.