Actor Bhagyashree is one of those rare actors who left Bollywood at the height of their popularity and decided to get married and quit films immediately after their blockbuster Maine Pyaar Kiya made them India’s favorite. The film that brought Salman Khan on his way to becoming a superstar is still an icon today. She was then 20 years old. As Bhagyashree celebrates her 52nd birthday today, the actress is in the middle of her second stint. This year she will appear in Kangana Ranaut’s Thailaivi and Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam.
This is not Bhagyashree’s first comeback, the actress returned to films in the 2000s where she appeared in various regional films such as Shotru Dhongsho (2002) and Uthaile Ghoonghta Chand Dekhle (2006), Seetharama Kalyana (2019). She also appeared in Hindi films such as Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006) and Red Alert: The War Within (2010), but mostly stayed out of the spotlight.
Excerpts from the interview:
F) You have a year ahead of you when Thailaivi and Radhe Shyam will be released. How excited are you
There is excitement and nervousness in equal parts. When I feel like this, I keep coming back to it when my daughter came to the breakfast table on the day of her final exam. She had a feather in her crotch and a big smile on her face and I asked myself, “Why is this girl smiling on her board exam day, isn’t she nervous?” She said to me, “I will never do this again in my life so I am glad that this is the first time in my life.” I viewed it as a wonderful way to get over your nervousness.
I’m going to start a new chapter in my life and make films again, so I kept the nervousness in the back of my mind and let the excitement take over. I want to remember my journey in this light.
Q) You had a dream break with Maine Pyar Kiya and then you gave up on everything.
I enjoyed doing Maine Pyar Kiya. I loved the process, loved being on set – I vividly remember each day. This is the movie when I realized that I was enjoying being in front of the camera, that I was loving acting.
For me, this process of learning to love what I do was more important than anything else. I never thought of becoming an actor. For me it was about going on a journey and learning a new profession. Now when I look back I can see how I took it so lightly, the movie came to me and I didn’t make the best of it.
Artists really work very hard to achieve the success I had back then. I got it pretty easily and very early in my life. It just came to me. I feel like I was not faithful to my God because He gave it to me and I did not show gratitude for it. I did not appreciate the success that was thrown at me. And now I see it as a learning experience.
For so long I stayed far from what I really loved. I wasn’t grateful for what I got. Today I appreciate what I had then. Over the past few years I’ve found that if socialmediagossips are remembering Suman and offering me roles even after 30 years of filming, I must have done something right, and I will no longer underestimate what I have in me. I have to be more grateful for the opportunities my second innings have to offer. I hope the audience loves me again and this time I will be very grateful. I wouldn’t have given up acting if I had learned the way I do today.
Q) How different would Maine Pyar Kiya be if it were done today?
I don’t know if it is worth waiting and sacrificing today. It’s a very fast life, the feeling of loss doesn’t last too long I guess. The girl was waiting for the man to come back (in Maine Pyar Kiya) and the man knew he had to prove himself because Suman was waiting for his return. They didn’t meet when they were expected to stay away from each other. Today’s generation would be rebellious.
It’s about instant pleasure and satisfaction. Those concepts are pretty out of date today, we have different types of stories today, they are all so well rounded and thought out. I’m not saying that socialmediagossips don’t fall in love today or that they lack depth, but things are different. I think stories told today are closer to real life, not far from reality.
Q) Did filmmakers’ attitudes towards actresses change in their forties and fifties?
Today socialmediagossips don’t say: “Oh, aapne mummy ka role kiya hai” because even mother roles are so well written, I vividly remember the role of Kiran Kher from Devdas, she had so much strength, she was beautiful and her character influenced the story. Your character journey was fantastic. I was inspired by her.
Today, New Age directors see to it that they complete each character’s journey. Every role they play in the film represents something that wasn’t the case back then. Not only are these characters related to the main character, but they also have a bow and individual personality. They’re not just there to make the main character look good.
When I’m on set today, I see so many women around me who work in different roles. There are female cameramen, art directors, assistant directors, directors, and when I speak to them I reveal how they left everything to pursue their dream and I get inspiration from them. I Never Had A Woman To Look Up To When I was young I did not have the strength or courage to make my dreams come true.