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Bhagyashree: We’d earlier hear ‘a married woman may not be accepted in films’, but I became a mother, and got offers, too – bollywood

Being married as an actor in earlier times was considered as something that would affect your career. While that notion has certainly changed over the years, we ask Bhagyashree — who has defied all this by getting married at a young age — how was it battling the notion then.“You’d be surprised, that even after my son was born, Yash (Chopra, filmmaker) uncle told me ‘Tum haan bolo, main film shuru karta hoon’. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was hearing that a married woman may not be accepted in the film world, and here was this amazing producer-director, at the top of his game, telling me maa banne ke bawajood, I’ll make a film with you. I thought he’s just talking, it’s not possible. I’m not going to set my heart to something so impossible,” confesses the 51-year-old, mother of actor Abhimanyu Dassani.While anyone else in her place then, when her debut film Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) made her a household name, would have wanted to capitalise on the opportunity, Bhagyashree gave it a miss. In fact, the actor says she was too naïve to understand things. “I felt okay in my little cocoon, and didn’t want to step out. One more reason was I was very protective about my family, and didn’t want anything anaap-shanaap (rubbish) to be written. Today, the media has gotten to another level. That time, there was no digital, it was one-to-one magazines and newspapers, it was in everyone’s home, and not so much rotation of news happened,” recalls Bhagyashree.The reason she decided to not chase stardom or get busy with her career was because she prioritised her family over it. She also didn’t like the gossip culture that was prevalent.“At that point of time, one magazine came out once a month, and people would talk only about that for the entire month. For me, it was like, ‘I don’t want to become people’s breakfast table gossip conversation’. It’s silly, but that’s the way I kind of led my life, very protective about my family and reputation, and the way people would perceive me,” she confesses.Bhagyashree feels that even how the public sees an actor has changed. Earlier, an actor and his on-screen personas were both the same people, and that made things difficult.“I understand now when you are going to office, there’s a different persona, and the same when you come back, they can be two different people, that’s what acting is all about. Uss waqt na hume pata tha, na duniya ko. People perceived Prem Chopra, Pran, Ranjit, these villains in films, and feared even in actual society! Everyone was like they are bad people, playing a villain. It has changed over a period of time,” she signs off.

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