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Say it like it is

Jyoti Dogra on the `Hyderabad Blues 2' experience

JYOTI DOGRA is an angry young woman. She is furious with the raw deal actresses are handed out by the film industry. "Male characters in the movies have moved beyond `hero' roles and actors are doing real roles. The actress however is still stuck in the heroine/mother/bhabhi roles. There are no new territories to women to explore."

In town to promote Nagesh Kukunoor's Hyderabad Blues 2 Rearranged Marriage, Jyoti said she was being offered "obnoxious roles as a bhabhi or something pointless. It is a shame that people who take so much trouble over their scripts and characterisation in crossover cinema choose to cast models in the female lead. It would be better if they were honest and said that it was for eye candy or saleability. But they would insist that they cast the model because she is brilliant actor!"

"I wish things were more professional. I am an actor and would like to be judged on my talent and skill rather than sweet-talking people. I find it ridiculous to be photographed eating an ice cream just to stay in the news."

Jyoti, after a three stint with the National School of Drama as an actor moved from home in Delhi to Mumbai. Jyoti wowed the viewer with her work in serials like Shanti, Bhanwar, Saboot and Star Best Seller. "There was good work happening then. Most of the directors I worked with then are now film directors like Tigmanshu Dhulia (Haasil, Charas)."

The decision not to work in saas-bahu serials was "a conscious one and a tough one as it is not easy living alone in Mumbai. My friends have made the difference. They have been very supportive and I feel blessed to have them as my buffer."

Talking about how HB 2 came about, Jyoti said, "I heard they were auditioning for small roles. First I did not want to go as I felt if they are saying it is a small role then it must be really small. But then I went ahead and auditioned and they called me again and took photographs of me with Nagesh to see how we would look together and then I was on."

"I asked Nagesh if I needed to base my performance on the earlier performance," Jyoti says about her preparation for the role where she replaced Rajshri Nair as Ashwini. "Nagesh said to base it on the script and my interpretation. I like the role as Ashwini is truly modern - she has a successful job and also has issues with in-laws. It is a deceptively simple role. Playing real people is the toughest."

Jyoti was a "nervous wreck when I landed for shooting. I had all these notions that this is a South Indian production and the whole team knew each other and that I was the odd one out. However, I had six days to prepare and I got so busy that there was no time to worry about extraneous things. I enjoyed the experience, as it was work-centric. It was like going back to drama school."

Jyoti who considers Jennifer Kapoor's role in 36 Chowrangee Lane a dream role feels that actresses "wither away because they do not get interesting work." We can just hope that the sprightly feisty Jyoti does not meet a similar fate!


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