Spotlight EXCLUSIVE: Khiladi fame Ayesha Jhulka: Never probed into films I did not get for whatever reasons

Today, we put the SPOTLIGHT on Ayesha Jhulka of Khiladi fame, who in an extremely warm and heartiest conversation, opened up on her journey, the break, regrets if any, and what she was doing in the last couple of years. Read.
Spotlight EXCLUSIVE Khiladi fame Ayesha Jhulka No point in regretting a failed film; no one chooses to do itSpotlight EXCLUSIVE: Khiladi fame Ayesha Jhulka: No point in regretting a failed film; no one chooses to do it
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I have been a fighter. I have never looked back, says Ayesha Jhulka

"Pehla Nasha, Pehla Khumar" crosses your mind as soon as we hear about Ayesha Jhulka. The actress who made her debut in 1988 was part of several blockbusters including Khiladi, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander. However, she took a voluntary sabbatical between 2010 and 2018-19 to focus on her family and was also looking for better scripts. Today, we put the SPOTLIGHT on Ayesha, who in an extremely warm and heartiest conversation opened up on her journey, the break, regrets if any, and what she was doing in the last couple of years. 

Firstly, the cinema has changed so much since you made your debut in 1988. For good or worse, how do you see it? Do you miss anything?

I can't say if it is for the best or worst because a lot of good things have happened. There is a lot of good cinema is being made. Cinema has improved in so much way, in terms of production but I do miss my time which was very nice. We were treated very nicely, not so formal, though it does have a few positive effects too. It was very different then. It was like a family working together and was not so so professional. It is a fact, we have all gone through it. In the 90s, it was definitely a different ball game. 

How do you reflect on your journey? Working on which film made you happiest?

There are so many. I have done lots of films, more than 90, in fact. Yes, a couple of films that I have done were very successful like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, Khiladi, they were very well received. I did a film called Vishwavidhaata (1997) with Jackie [Shroff] that was very different. There was this one film which did not get a release which was called Amma, it went for National Award, that was a very different character I played, which I really enjoyed. Then, I did a theatre play by Vijaya Mehta which as a performer and artist was very satisfying. I have fond memories of it. As artists, we are hungry for better roles. I still feel I really need to do more and do something which is really satisfying as a performer. 


A post shared by Ayesha Julka (@julka.ayesha) on

Post 2010, you hardly did any films or shows. Was it a voluntary sabbatical?

By choice, absolutely. In fact, I might not be out there but I wrote and directed three short films during this period. Out of which, one found place in world cinema in the awards category. I received 18 awards for the 20 minutes film and then I had the two years cycle of travelling and promoting it. I got a lot of satisfaction with it. I then directed another film which was on the subject of environment which they are preparing to send it to different film festivals. The third one is almost done but the final print had to be out when the lockdown happened but it is in process. So, it is not like I was not doing anything but I was busy doing things I felt like doing. Out of choice, I wanted to lead a normal life apart from me working for so many years. Meanwhile, I did read scripts, got a lot of TV offers, got offers to do special appearances. I did chose a couple of them for friends but did not do more than that because I needed that creative satisfaction.

I don't want to do anything and everything that comes my way. I have been reading a lot of scripts even now, but I need something which strikes me immediately. That is why I have kept away because there is no point doing something I won't be happy with and killing the body of work I have and do for the heck of doing it. 

There is no point in regretting a failed film because no one chooses to do a failed film
Ayesha Jhulka

While a few of your films worked very well, there were a few which didn't. How did you take failures? Do you regret anything?

I have always been a very different person in nature. I have been a fighter. I have never looked back. It was my decision to say yes to those scripts. At the script level, you make your own picture of choosing a script but by the time it is made, it is something else. So you cannot judge. If there was a set formula to get a hit film then none of the films would flop. So, we don't know what the audience liked. But, I kept on working and polished myself as an artist. There is no point in regretting a failed film because no one chooses to do a failed film. That happens for everyone, in fact, the production suffers more. I was lucky that I kept getting offers despite a few films not doing well, while some did do well, that carried me forward for so many years. 

Did the treatment within the industry towards you change post a failed film?

It might have happened but I never paid attention otherwise I would have been in a different mental space if I would sit and start getting depressed or feel uneasy by other people's judgment. I just did my bit and I didn't care what people think. Whatever opinion they had was their problem, not mine and I think that was also the strength that I never bothered. 

I never indulged or probed about films I possibly didn't get for whatever reasons
Ayesha Jhulka

You were an outsider in the industry. Did you face any challenges in particular during your journey?

Honestly speaking, A. I was very young when I joined the industry. B. I was very lucky to not have struggled in the industry and got films back to back. So, I didn't understand the struggle which most of the people go through. My first film was Kurbaan, then Jo Jeeta and Khiladi, so there was no struggle as such. In those times, we would do like 2-3 shifts in a day that I was so busy doing that, I didn't realise how the years passed. Yes, there might have been instances where I did not get a film for whatever reasons, but I never indulged or probed into it because it didn't really bother me. I just felt that whatever has to come to me will come eventually. 

When did you realise you had become a 'star' back then?

To be very honest, I never realised it. I just wanted to be normal and that kept me going. I didn't want it to go in my head leading to me building a castle in the head. I mean just a couple of years back, I had gone to Bali with friends and on the road, local people were singing my songs. I was amazed that after so many years people remember. It made me happy. I am from an army background. We are brought up in a different way. It has never struck me. I forget easily who I am and was. Those moments were tremendous. What I was made to feel, never went to my head. People do put you on a pedestal, but I just went by and did not stand there and was like 'oh, I am some star'. It could be my fault also. I think I could be somewhere else if I had done this differently but the thing is there is no end to anything. You just want more and more, and a lot of things come with it. I give my family credit for keeping me grounded.

Whom are you in touch with from your colleagues back then?


A post shared by Ayesha Julka (@julka.ayesha) on

Hardly, but I am in touch with Jackie Da, Bhagyashree, Govinda and met Aamir a few months back but not everyone. I am not in touch but we message each other once in a while. Back then we did not have time to make friends and all, we would work round the clock, running. I don't remember attending any parties or anything.

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Anonymous 4 months ago

I was her biggest fan in my childhood. She fell for wrong men. That was her problem. But she was one of the most grounded actresses. Even today her replies are so grounded. No victim hood. Nahi toh everyone is playing a victim game lately

Anonymous 4 months ago

Yes. Agree. I liked her too

Anonymous 4 months ago

Ayesha , Raveena ,Karishma Kapoor, Juhi, Madhuri all went through this rough patch of working 2-3 shifts in a day sometimes 20 hours. And they all hardly had time to make friends. That’s why there was quality content back in the 90s and early 2000s. Nowadays it’s all nonsense

Anonymous 4 months ago

quality content in the 90s? you kidding right?

Anonymous 5 months ago

she was such a classic beauty ...

Anonymous 5 months ago

She was never a big star, her make up and dressing sense were very 'ordinary'. she was tv star material. She was apparently the first choice for qayamat se qayamat take which went ti juhi chawla. Roja was offered to her too which went to Madhoo later. She missed being in the big league.

Anonymous 5 months ago

Wrong, she ran in par with Divya Bharathi. Pretty famous, beautiful and a damn good actress. Armaan Kohli promised her marriage which never materialized. Sad...

Anonymous 5 months ago

She was a good actress and gave hit fulms. She got into a relationship with some guy can't remember who and stopped focusing on films which derailed her career

Anonymous 5 months ago

Same happened with Tanisha Mukherjee except she has no career to speak of. This Armaan Kohli is bad news

Anonymous 5 months ago

Armaan Kohli. He destroyed her career. Sad as she was doing quite well and was popular

Anonymous 5 months ago

Armaan kohli destroyed her first and Nana was next. She is happy now.