‘In Bangladesh, I have played so many dynamic characters, be it a freedom fighter, a circus trapeze artist, sex worker, and many more.’
IMAGE: Jaya Ahsan makes her Hindi debut in the Pankaj Tripathi-starrer Kadak Singh. All Photographs: Kind courtesy Jaya Ahsan/Instagram
Venturing into a new realm is always challenging.
For actress Jaya Ahsan, her transition to Bollywood marks a special milestone in her career.
Hailing from Bangladesh, the National Film Award-winning actress has over a hundred Bengali and Bangladeshi films, television shows, and Web series under her belt.
In her Hindi debut, she plays Pankaj Tripathi’s love interest, Naina, in Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Kadak Singh.
“This film is thoda out of ordinary. This is slightly unusual from mainstream films in terms of the content and artists,” the actress tells Mayur Sanap/Rediff.com.
Now that you are back to your home country, how would you sum up your experience from the last few weeks in India?
It was a lifetime experience with Kadak Singh. Very exciting and memorable.
I got a chance to work with Pankaj Tripathiji.
It was a wonderful journey with a wonderful team, along with a wonderful ensemble cast.
Tonida (Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury) pushed me with this character, and I really enjoyed it.
How did you decide to make transition into Bollywood?
Tonida was always on my wish list but somehow, it didn’t work out in the past. When he offered me Kadak Singh, I saw that this role would challenge me.
It is not a big character, but is crucial to the story.
The cherry on top was Pankaj Tripathi.
I have done only one film in Hindi so far, but would like to many more.
An artist shouldn’t have any geographical barriers. I am happy I could take an extra step for my career with this film.
IMAGE: Jaya, right, with her Kadak Singh co-actors Sanjana Sanghi, left, Pankaj Tripathi and Parvathy Thiruvothu.
What got you excited about Kadak Singh?
This film is thoda out of ordinary. This is slightly unusual from mainstream films in terms of the content and artists.
If you see my filmography, I have always wanted to do meaningful films.
Of course, I don’t have any problem with mainstream films, both kinds of cinema are important.
You come from a non-filmi background. How did acting happen to you?
It happened by chance. I don’t have any background of theatre or acting.
I first did television for 10 years and then films happened. Then I found out that I am earning money out of my passion. That was very important.
I never do any roadmap or planning for my career.
I think I am very lucky. Those who are earning their bread and butter through passion-driven work are very lucky.
You have been a part of the Bengali film industry for a long time. Do you think your talent is utilised well there?
In Bangladesh, I have played so many dynamic characters, be it a freedom fighter, a circus trapeze artist, sex worker, and many more.
But in Kolkata, there was a problem. I got very few chances to experiment.
This is reason why I would like to focus on films in Bangladesh because Bangaleshi films are doing really well these days.
As an artist, I would like to get out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons.
In fact, I have done an Iranian film recently, which was screened at IFFI.
How did you prepare yourself for your Hindi debut?
We all watch OTT films from all over the world. In age of globalisation, all kinds of languages are possible.
Hindi films are immensely followed in Bangladesh.
Before the shoot, I watched a few films and shows. I would also see the news readings.
But for my character, I completely relied on Tonida. She has a Bengali background, so I didn’t have to work much on my dialect.
Whenever I visit Kolkata and India, my Hindi somehow gets better. It turns bad when I come back to Bangladesh (Laughs).
You once said that people shouldn’t judge from your social media pictures. Do you think the pressure of the Internet is too much for actors, especially female actors?
Social media is a judgemental place. It is more so in Bangladesh these days.
I am not on social media, there is a team that handles that for me.
There is a bad side and a good side to it, but females are more affected.
How do you deal with this negativity?
I don’t give a lot of importance to social media. Work is more important to me.
I have made a decision to not pay any attention to what people say about me on social media.
What kind of work do you wish to do in the Hindi space?
I want to do work that I have never done before, something that would challenge me and give me scope to showcase my acting.
I want to play dynamic characters. No repeat characters.
I am confident I would get such parts here.
Are there any film-makers on your wishlist?
Shoojit Sircar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
But I would also like to work with new film-makers, as they are more enthusiastic and dynamic.
They take challenges and give challenges. I like that.