|Jayaprada at Bharat Lakshmi. Picture by Rashbehari Das
Jayaprada has come a long way from the demure, doting wife and mother she played in so many Bollywood films (Swarg Se Sundar, Kaamchor, Maa, Tohfa, Sanjog...). The member of Parliament is now busy playing an underground militant in Ashoke Viswanathan’s Sesh Sanghat. t2 caught up with her at Bharat Lakshmi Studio.
You are doing a Bengali film after many years...
Not very many years. My last film Ami Shei Meye opposite Prosenjit released four years ago. It had an emotional subject. I love my role in Sesh Sanghat. It’s completely opposite my image. People have mostly seen me cooking and cleaning. I haven’t yet got to play a character that fights for justice in Hindi films.
What do you play in Sesh Sanghat'
I am Rajnandini, a fiery woman. People will see a very different mood of Jaya in Sesh Sanghat, perhaps for the first time. The character has various shades. I could identify with her. In life too, I am a fighter for justice as an MP. I am also producing Sesh Sanghat under the banner Rainbow Jayaprada Entertainmentz. Ramesh Gandhi is the co-producer.
Do you get offers from Bollywood'
There is none at the moment. But I would want to do films that will offer me a variety of roles, not just a mother or a wife.
Why are you producing Sesh Sanghat'
Actually, I liked the subject a lot. I felt it was the right script for me at the right time. Also because Ashoke is a very talented director. And I wanted to try something new. I like trying out different things — from acting to politics and now producing films.
What was your first Bengali film'
Vivekananda. It was with Mithun Chakraborty. He played Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa in the film and I was a courtesan. Sesh Sanghat is my fourth Bengali film.
Now that you are familiar with Bengali, will you dub for Sesh Sanghat'
Yes, I will. I am like a parrot; I learn languages very fast. I have done films in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and Bengali. When I did my first Hindi film Sargam opposite Rishi Kapoor, people had said I wouldn’t survive in the industry as I couldn’t speak Hindi then. But I did learn the language, slowly and steadily. Bengali is not very difficult either.
Moreover, I am emotionally attached to Bengal. I know Bengalis cook the most amazing dishes. Though I restrict myself to less oily food, I will try khichuri, alu posto and begun bhaja before I wrap up my shooting here!
(Which is your favourite Jayaprada film' Tell firstname.lastname@example.org)