More female characters need to be written

It was Sooraj Barjatya directorial Maine Pyaar Kiya that gave a major boost to the careers of Salman Khan and Bhagyashree, thereby making them a household name overnight.

Post the movie's success, Salman went on signing back to back projects whereas, Bhagyashree decided to prioritise her personal life and tie knot with businessman Himalaya Dassani in 1990 – a decision taken at a point when her career was at its peak. But does she feel today it's easier for actresses to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

"Undoubtedly, circumstances have changed for the better. Now actresses are confidently and flawlessly managing their jobs – both inside and outside their homes. Things for me however, weren't this easy. Secondly, I was only 19 when Maine Pyaar Kiya released and at such a young age you find everything very overwhelming. The fact that I got married, Maine Pyaar Kiya was a huge hit and I had a baby – everything was far too overwhelming for me to manage or balance. I had to ask myself 'what's going to make me happier in the long run.'

"As we all know, the film industry is not a very secure place. You can't guarantee the same amount of success, work, happiness throughout. But investing in family always gives you back. And that's why I chose the latter."

"I am a very headstrong person. When I decide to do something, I do it with all my heart and never regret my choices. Marriage was one of those decisions which I took at the age of 19 and I am extremely happy about it," added the mother of Abhimanyu Dasani, who debuted in 2019 with Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota.

The Maine Pyaar Kiya actress was speaking on the sidelines of 3rd Udaipur Tales – one of its kind storytelling festival which takes place in the Venice of the East. The three-day-long event (February 21-23, 2020) saw artiste like Piyush Mishra, Seema Wahi Mukherjee, Syed Sahil Agha, Kabuki Khanna and Vikram Sridhar among others, enthralling the audience with their spellbinding performances.

When asked about a story that changed her life, Bhagyashree said, "It would have to be Maine Pyaar Kiya. That story changed my life as well as of the people around me. No matter where I go now, some people come up and tell me how the movie made a difference for them. It was an inspirational story for every generation."

Further speaking of how secure the industry has become for actresses over the years, Bhagyashree said, "There are only a handful of actresses who get the choice of doing movies which they really wish to do. But yes, a lot more characters are being written for women now (though not as much as should ideally be). For example, when you think of an Indian police officer in Indian cinema, you can only imagine a male actor. I don't understand why! There are a lot of women police officers who are excellent."

"Rani (Mukherjee) though tried to break the image and she was well received, we cannot ignore the fact that the movie (Mardaani) was made from her production house. We need leading filmmakers to think in this direction and write more female characters," she added.

Bhagyashree feels that we still live in the age where a mother (in a film) has no other identity than being the caretaker of the family. Nobody thinks that a mother is also capable of doing other jobs. When the projection happens for a character artist, nobody takes these factors into consideration, which is extremely sad.

On the work front, she has signed projects including Kitty Party, Telugu remake of 2 States and Prabhas' next movie.

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