“Love always makes my life go round” says actress Bhagyashree as she makes her comeback

By Neeru Saluja

She became an overnight superstar as her debut film ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ became one of India’s highest grossing films. The film was so popular that Bhagyashree’s innocent smile, graceful beauty and natural acting became a sweet memory that still remains fresh among all Bollywood lovers.

As a 19 year old, she never expected this stardom after her debut film and left everyone in dismay by leaving the industry to lead a quiet family life. Now fighting fit and gorgeous at 51, a mother to an actor, she can give all the young actresses a run for their money. She is all set to make her comeback with actor Prabhas and with Kangana Ranaut in ‘Thalaivi’ – a film based on the life of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Late J Jayalalithaa.

In a candid and lengthy conversation, we talked to the 90s superstar on her comeback, why she said goodbye to films, her memories of Maine Pyar Kiya, what’s keeping her busy during the lockdown and how she turned to mindful living after she had to battle an unforeseen health issue.

We are so excited to see you back on the silver screen with actor Prabhas and with Kangana Ranaut in ‘Thalaivi’. What was so special about the films that made you decide to make a comeback?

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back to work for a while. So when these two films came to me, I decided to go ahead with them. Both of the characters in the films are so diametrically different to each other. This was very important for me, as well as the fact that both the films are made on a big scale and they will see the light at the end of the day. When you are making a comeback, you want your film to reach the audience. ‘Thalaivi’ is a biography of Jayalalitha and the other yet to be titled Prabhas film. I thought this will be the ideal way to say ‘Here I am, I’m back’!

You achieved stardom via your debut film ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ which was a blockbuster. You had the courage though to leave behind the success to be with your children and family. Was it a tough decision to make then and do you have any regrets?

Love always makes my life go round. So at that point of time that was all what mattered. People did say at that time that it was a bold decision, as I turned my back on fame and success for simpler things of life. It does take a heart and courage. Life has gone by 30 years, it is different now and then, also from the aspect of the industry. The types of roles and scripts written now for women are different and the post marriage acceptance for actresses has changed. With web mediums, women have more platforms for their artistic expressions and now I can avail those opportunities.

MPK became a trendsetter and one of the most successful films of Indian cinema. While acting in the film, did you ever imagine it would be such a big hit? We would love to hear about some precious memories from the sets.

The movie was new for all of us – be it Salman, me or Sooraj ji. As it was our first venture we put in a lot of hard work. I don’t think anyone of us in our wildest dreams thought that that kind of success will be showered on us. Everyone who watched MPK felt a connection. I have so many people coming up to me saying because of this film, we proposed to our better half or we decided to get our children married and get a bahu like Suman. It’s been a part of every person’s life. We never imagined the effect the film had and continues to after so many years. All of us feel completely blessed for the love we received.

Most of the simple dialogues of MPK actually happened on the sets. For example, “hota hai, hota hai, no sorry, no thank you”, was something that was not written as a dialogue but it was part of my interactions with Salman. Sooraj ji heard us and said let’s include this in the scene. Salman used to keep teasing me, and I ran after him to pat him and in doing so he tripped on the stairs and I just laughed loud and said ‘hota hai, hota hai’. That just became a line that everyone stuck on.

Coming from a royal and conservative family, did you face opposition while entering the film industry? I heard your dad did not know you wore western clothes for the film!

Not really as Sooraj ji’s parents and my parents knew each other. They were assured that I would be looked after like a daughter on the sets.

I come from a conservative family and once I turned 13 my dad said ‘no more skirts, no more jeans, no more shorts’ and you will only wear salwar kameez’. When I started shooting for MPK, I went shopping for jeans and dresses.

Your son also made his debut last year with ‘Mard ko Dard Nahin Hota’. What was the advice you gave him when he made his debut as a mother and actor?

I have always told my children whether it be my daughter or son that it’s important to be a good person. They should respect their elders, be compassionate and look after the people on their way up as everything that goes up comes down and it just softens your fall. These are the simple things I believe in and I’ve told them to do that.

When it comes to working on sets, I told my son to never make anyone wait and be there on time. Enjoy the journey and don’t think if the film is going to be a success. Believe in what you do and the benefits will come to you. Fortunately, his first film was a success and earned him awards and accolades.

We have been loving your cooking and workout videos during the lockdown! What’s your advice for a healthy lifestyle in this difficult time?

During the lockdown, it’s not only the pandemic taking over our lives. It’s so important to understand its repercussions over the long term. It’s not going to end with us finding a cure in the next 6-8 months. There will be a lot of financial, physical and emotional trauma that people would go through. People need to remember not to give up on things – the people they love, their smiles, their relationships. It’s easier to sit within the walls of our home and have our meal with the family, while others don’t. All my cooking videos are an attempt to lighten the hearts and bring a smile to people’s faces and ours too. Everyone at the back of their minds has a sense of gloom that the world is going to collapse. We need not allow our mind and heart to collapse. The world has to believe that immunity does matter. We need to be mindful of how we are securing our own health by eating the right kind of food, exercise and sleep the hours we require for our body to recover. This is a wake up call and we need to keep our mental balance in place and that will happen only when our heart is content and has a sense of gratitude.

You look just the same like you did from your MPK days! What’s your secret beauty mantra?

Honestly, I do not consider myself beautiful but I do treat my body as my temple. It’s important to take care of your body. I had a health issue a few years ago and that made me realise that one does take a lot for granted. I have always been conscious of what I eat or my sleep patterns, and I try to be stress free through meditation and exercise. For me, meditation is not about sitting around and chanting a mantra, it’s about being more mindful in your every aspect of life. Meditation could be eating a chocolate cake when you enjoy and savour every spoonful of the cake. It doesn’t harm your system. Stress is something that gets you down.

If people say I look the same, I would say till you turn 30, genetics help you. Luckily my parents have good skin and have not greyed. But post 30, you have to put a lot of effort to make your genetics work for you. You have to be more careful of what you eat and move a lot. People think walking in their house or towards their car or standing while cooking is their exercise. It doesn’t work like that. Sitting is not the right posture for your spine and hips which people don’t realise. I only sit while having a meal. I’ve learnt all this on the way and believe in getting back to the basics where for example we used to sit on the floor to eat our meals. I help people online and teach people mindful living and healthy eating via my program called ‘back to basics’. People can email me on info@back2basics.online or check out my website www.bhagyashreeonline.com for health tips.

What’s next on your plate?

I’m looking forward to getting into the digital space and start working on a web series as that is tomorrow’s world. The mediums have kept on changing and I would like to be part of this changing phenomenon.

 

 

 

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Posted by on Jun 30 2020. Filed under Bollywood, Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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