SPOTLIGHT: Bhagyashree gets candid about leaving Bollywood, battling a major health disorder & her comeback

Updated on Jun 02, 2020 01:18 PM IST  |  7.1M
   
SPOTLIGHT: Bhagyashree gets candid about leaving Bollywood, battling a major health disorder & her comeback
SPOTLIGHT: Bhagyashree gets candid about leaving Bollywood, battling a major health disorder & her comeback
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From talking about her insecurities despite achieving super stardom right after her debut Hindi film to saying goodbye to all the pomp and the glamour to lead a family life, actress Bhagyashree did something almost unthinkable in the '90s. I remember every time I met Salman Khan, he would talk about how Bhagyashree turned out to be a bigger star post Maine Pyaar Kiya and had she been there, she would have given all the other heroines a run for their money. Maybe, it would have been that way, but Bhagyashree had different plans. She wanted to start a family and give her full attention to her two kids. But now, at 51, she's fighting fit and often passes off as son Abhimanyu's 'sister'. We decided to speak to her and she got candid about her own self-doubts to the societal pressure and revealed how she had to battle an unforeseen health crisis around five years ago. Excerpts:

After Maine Pyaar Kiya, Salman Khan admits that he didn't have offers for almost a year. But you had become an overnight sensation...

Yes, that's true. I hadn't expected so humongous and it hit me really late. When the postman used to come with sacks of letters during Diwali or birthdays when the entire building's staircase would be lined by flowers. People have written letters in blood, which was shocking. For a 19 year old, it was all too overwhelming. There are people who cannot handle success and there are people who run away from it. (Laughs) I kept feeling: I don't know how to do this. I was very unprepared for something like this. At that time, I also wasn't a confident woman. I was still grappling with my own insecurities: I kept asking myself if this was all for real. It was more questioning myself at that point. There was a lot of self doubt. That time, the only thing I wanted was a fairy tale life - a family with a house and have my kids. 

How many films did you reject then?

I actually refused most of the big films of that time. Everytime I would meet Prakash uncle or Yashji (Chopra), they would fire me in front of everyone standing in front of us. Even very recently, a few years ago, when I even walked up to Yash uncle and introduced Abhimanyu to him, he told my son, "Yeh tumhari maa hai na, woh industry ki sab se stupid girl thi'. He really wanted to work me and I would always say no. After Maine Pyaar Kiya, every big film was offered to me, especially the ones these directors have done. 

Do you regret your decision of leaving Bollywood and rejecting such offers ever?

Looking back right now, when I see women handling both their family and their career, I actually feel wow. I don't know whether the society would have permitted me to do the same at that point of time. I am not too sure if the acceptability we have today would have been the same then. I was married and then a mother to Abhimanyu. But I won't lie: there were few directors who kept offering me big films. I just didn't know if the society would have really accepted me at that point. 

Are you referring to the social judgment that was prevalent about married actresses back in the day?

Yes, absolutely. For me, the consideration was to keep my marriage and Abhimanyu on hold or give them a little less time than what I was giving them. I just thought: what would it be for? It would still be short-lived and I wanted something ever lasting, so I picked my family life over everything. The reason why I don't regret it still is also because the love that I've received from people, has been everlasting. When I look back at 30 years of MPK and people still love me, so it's been there forever. The love and the respect I get today doesn't allow me to have any regrets. 

Was there ever a pressure from the family to not work anymore?

Areh, uss time toh hoga hi na! After Maine Pyaar Kiya, puri duniya ki chahat thi meri liye. I might have had the self doubt but people found me to be a pretty looking girl. I had the success and my husband was in his early 20s. Both of us decided to get married so early. So having someone who's adored by the entire world and is yours, you don't want to share them with anyone, no? So yes, of course. 

Although your husband didn't force you out of it, since this ran at the back of your mind, did you never have a conversation with him about it?

I always had this pressure of not being able to manage home and career together. I don't think I could have balanced both. More than my family, who are supportive, I felt I wouldn't be able to do it well. 

How many big films have you rejected in the last 10 years then?

Not too many. Because after I did the TV show Laut Aao Trisha, I had a major health issue and I couldn't move my hand at all. So my right hand was immobile. I had to get out of it. There were multiple issues with my hand, shoulder - I had a rotator cuff problem. impingement of my shoulders, my back muscles were shredded, my scapula had disengaged itself. So there were major issues and I couldn't move my hand at all. It was a journey then for me to study nutrition, fitness and self heal myself. I was really afraid of surgery so, that entire process went in self-healing myself. I thought to myself: kuch acha hone ke liye kuch kharab ho jaata hai. I went on a complete different journey in my life in the last five years, where I actually had nothing to do in films. So it's now that I'm healthier, stronger and better and it made me mentally and emotionally more powerful. I can take up more challenges today and follow them through. 

 

But now, you are making a fabulous comeback with two big films - Prabhas 20 and Thalaivi starring Kangana Ranaut. Both are pan-India projects. Are you happy?

Yes, they are both going to be big films catering to the entire nation. So, both Prabhas 20 and Thalaivi came around the same time. Previously, I had signed a film - the Telugu version of 2 States - which I was shooting, but the producers had some issue and the film was stalled. I was playing Revathy's part from the original in the Telugu remake. During that same time, these two films happened. I play two spectacular characters in both the films. For Prabhas 20, I have learnt a new skill set which I'm sure will surprise a lot of people. Also, in Thalaivi, I play a very special role, but I can't reveal it yet. I have shot a little bit of it and it was wonderful. Kangana kept asking me the same thing just like you on the very first day - but why would you leave after getting so much stardom and love? Don't you regret it? 

But there won't be any more breaks, I'm hoping...

No, not anymore. The reason for me saying goodbye to films was my kids and I wanted to be a part of every milestone and moment in their lives while growing up. They have both grown up now and in fact, they are the ones pushing me to do it. Both the kids were after me for years now and they almost literally were about to say: Jaa Simraan, jee le apni zindagi (laughs). Thanks to their emotional backing, I took these up and decided to get back to films again. So, let's hope this works out well. 

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Anonymous : Bhagyashree was amazing in MPK. She had great scope, sadly she was already committed by then and chose to live by accepted society norms. It is something to respect, as it takes courage to say No when everyone's charming you to say Yes. BW is a tricky industry, people abandon you if you flop so she chose a more secure life for herself ignoring the calling of Yash Chopra. I remember her in the song "Dekho shaam hone aayi!"
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : A wise decision taken by her after her films bombed post mpk. She was a behanji and will remain a behanji. Good for bhabhi or mother roles now. Zero sex appeal then and now.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : I could understand her feelings. In teens ,many girls had no proper ideology,suffered with great doubts and insecurities. So,whatever she had done is obviously right. And, we must not forget that we received upto what reserved for us in fate.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : I could realise her feelings and respected. Even I too crossed through teenage with lots of hesitations,insecurities probably fear of sharing with our parents definitely pushed into alone dessert. So no regrets now. Whatever in our fate already decided and that much only we could receive.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : She should now realise that speaking about the past glory wont help her now but she needs to reinvent herself and make use of opportunities coming her way.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : I don't agree, Bhagyashree could have been much bigger than most predict. I saw her years ago in a show, I could not take my eyes off of her that's how glamourous she looked. Her role in Maine Pyar Kiya was of a simple girl and she was also very young, Madhuri in her beginning days even in Parinda did not have as much attraction as she did later on. To be honest, Juhi did not look glamourous or even pretty in Qayamat Se Qayamat Takk (whatever she did later on or grew up was nothing short of magic) and Sridevi had lots of surgeries. Bhagyashree made a mistake and I am pretty sure her husband wanted that.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : She's not glamourous, she's the gharelu type & she can only do the sweet bahu type roles. Madhuri and Juhi was a case of grooming, they are naturally pretty and hot. Juhi looks wow in Sultanat (with Karan Kapoor) which was before QSQT by the way. Plus Bhagyashree had several conditions back then - she would not revealing clothes & only act with her husband- major limitations for a lead actress. Nowadays she dresses more liberally & will not mind who is the co star which is weird. Well will never know how she'd have fared if she had stayed on. I also feel she regrets it because her husband forced her. If so, its very sad but she needs to get over it. It's more than 30 years ago.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : She is regretting. She is not upto madhuri Or juhi's level. Her acting skill is not that much good. She was forcing the producer's to work with her husband. Her film qaid mei hai bulbul is an example. Her husband was not a star material. He was lacking acting skills. She was forcing the producers to take him against her. Manipulative woman. Now suddenly she woke up. Greedy woman.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : What crap is she talking about. She is not mentioning about the few movies she did with her husband as she was not comfortable touching other men as she herself proclaimed. Her thoughts were regressive then to believe that only her husband could be her co star. Sharmila, hema n others managed family n career well but she in the 90s claims society was judgemental. Uff, glad after her comeback with her husband she realised that she wasn't welcome.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : Yes she gave an interview saying love me, love my husband.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : Yes, I agree with your views. I saw her movie & hero was her's husband OMG what a acting yack more than 10 mnts not able to watch. It was disaster acting.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : Sometimes this is called Destiny
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : Someone who became a bigger superstar with almost similar face as Divya Bharati is Mamta Kulkarni who had 7 releases with Andolan, Sabse Bada Khiladi, Karan-arjun, Bequabu to establish a Suoerstar in 90s at times mamta looked like bagayshree then
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Anonymous : Yeah but Mamta was very bold in dressing sense which Bhagyashree was not.
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Anonymous : A lot of highly educated successful women give up careers for children for all sorts of reasons. At least she has no financial worries, a loving husband and children, but she acts like a martyr as she gave up superstardom. She's not herione material at all, her range of roles would be limited becuase she is not that glamourous.
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Anonymous : No offense but Divya Bharathi would ah e been a superstar and a major loss to the industry.Infact..she would have looked wonderful in Maine Pyaar Kiya. Bhagyashree.. Even if she was in the movies would have ended up like Ameesha Patel, a one film wonder. It was best she married coz until now she is remembered for that blockbuster.
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Anonymous : Ameesha had other hits as well, I think her parents derailed her by blocking her access to her assets becuase they disapproved of her relationship with someone. When her energy was focused elsewhere she made bad career choices and ironically the personal relationship also didn't work out.
REPLY 0 1 year ago
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Anonymous : Well..she is homely types and never can one see her in the league of Sridevi,Madhuri or juhi.It is not about beauty but for a heroine more that beauty...there has to be magnetic attraction.
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Anonymous : This woman clearly regrets her decision. She is soo hungry for limelight that she us always posing on insta, she ulis all over the place. But I must say she is lucky. Her husband is filthy rich. She has two kids, grown up. She is blessed. But hungry for more I guess
REPLY 0 1 year ago