Actress Bhagyashree is one of the rare actors who left Bollywood on the basis of her popularity, opted to marry and quit films soon after her blockbuster, Maine Pyar Kiya, which made her the darling of India. The film, which takes Salman Khan on the path of superstardom, is considered iconic for the day. She was 20 then. As Bhagyashree is celebrating her 52nd birthday today, the actor is in his second term. She will be seen this year in Kangana Ranaut’s Thalaivi and Prabhas’s Radhey Shyam.
This is not Bhagyashree’s first comeback, the actor made a comeback to films in the 2000s, where she appeared in various regional films such as Shotru Dhongsho (2002) and Uthile Ghoghanta Chand Dekhle (2006), Sitaram Kalyan (2019). She also appeared in Hindi films such as Hamko Deewana Kar Gaye (2006), and Red Alert: The War Within (2010), but remained largely out of Limelight.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q) Thillai and Radhey Shyam are one year ahead of you after their release. How excited are you?
There is excitement and nervousness in equal proportions. When I feel like this, I come back, when my daughter was coming to the breakfast table on the day of her last board exam. There was a spring in her step and a broad smile on her face and I was thinking, ‘Why is this girl smiling on the day of her board exam, isn’t she nervous?’ He told me, ‘I will never do this in my life, so I am excited that this is happening for the first time in my life.’ I thought of it as such a great way of overcoming my nervousness.
I am going to start a new chapter in my life, retreating from doing films, so I have kept the nervousness on the backburner and let the excitement take over. I want to remember my journey in this light.
Q) You had a dream success with Maine Pyar Kiya, and then you completed it.
I enjoyed doing Pyaar Kiya. I loved the process, loved being on set – I vividly remember every day. This film is when I realized that I enjoyed being in front of the camera, that I loved acting.
So, for me, this process of learning to do something was more important than anything, I never thought about being an actor. For me it was all about learning a new profession, taking it on a journey. Now when I look back, I realize how I took it so lightly, the film came to me and I did not make the most out of it.
Artists really work very hard to get the kind of success I had back then. I found it very easily, and very early in my life. It came to me I feel that I was not true to my God because he gave me and I did not show my gratitude to him, I did not appreciate the success that heaped upon me. And now I see it as a learning experience.
For so long I stayed far away from what I really loved. I was not grateful for what I received. Today, I have the value that I had. Over the years, I have realized that if people are remembering Suman, and still giving me roles after 30 years of the film, then I must have done something right and not underestimate what I have. Will happen. I should be more grateful for the opportunities that have come my way in my second innings. I hope the audience loves me again, and this time I will be very grateful. I would not have stopped acting, if I had kept learning like this today.
Q) How different would Maine Pyar Kiya be if it were made today?
I do not know if the value is seen today in waiting and in sacrifice. It is a very fast moving life, the feeling of loss does not last very long, I think. The girl was waiting for the man to return (Maine Pyar Kiya), and the boy knew that he would have to prove himself as Suman was waiting for her to return. They did not meet when they were expecting to be away from each other. Today’s generation will be rebellious.
It is all about instant happiness and satisfaction. These concepts are quite dated today, we have different types of stories today, they are all very well rounded and thought out. I do not mean to say that today people do not fall in love or do not have depth, but things are different. I think the stories told today are not far from reality, but closer to real life.
Q) Has the attitude of filmmakers towards female actors changed in the 40s and 50s?
Today people don’t say, ‘Oh, you played the role of Mummy’, because even the mother’s roles are so well written, I would have missed the role of Kiran Kher from Devdas quite well Huh, she had so much power, she was beautiful and her character was influenced by the story. His character journey has been fantastic. I drew inspiration from him.
Today, new and old directors are making sure that they complete the journey of each character, every role they play in the film stands for something, this was not a case. These characters not only belong to the main character, but they also have an arc and a personal personality, they are not just to make the lead guy good.
Today when I go to the set, I see many women around me working in different capacities. Women are cinematographers, art-directors, assistant-directors, directors, and when I talk to them, I issue how they have given up all this to pursue their dreams and I take inspiration from them, I never had a woman to look up to when I was little, I didn’t have the strength and courage to pursue my dreams.