Actor Jugal Hansraj says that he is a business proposition for directors and that they would sign him only if they saw profit in him
How was it facing the camera at the age of nine?
Jugal: I first faced the camera even before that...it was one week before my second birthday. I did various print ad campaigns and TV commercials. After that I got into films and did Masoom when I was nine and did 5-6 more films out of which four were with Dharamji.
Did you always consider acting as your career option?
Jugal: I was not sure at all. I just enjoyed being on set. When I was 14…I stopped doing films then I completely concentrated on my studies. After completing my school and college I again started getting offers. I did two or three films before Papa Kehte Hain…though my first release was in 1994, Aa Gale Lag Jaa.
Though Papa Kehte Hai bombed, yet it made you a youth icon.
Jugal: I could not believe back then that I am associated with a movie with such wonderful songs in it. People still talk about the music. I used to go jogging at Joggers Park in Bandra and there used to be this group of 15-20 girls and they used to sing Ghar Se Nikalte hi loudly so I just had to stop going there, as it was quite embarrassing. I did feel awkward with all that limelight but the film indeed made me popular.
After Papa Kehte Hain in 1996…your next big release was Mohabbatein in 2000...
Jugal: I continued doing and signing films but unfortunately a number of them got stalled. Mohabbatein was a big break again. But then I was also tired of doing the shy boy roles. So I did a couple of character parts, but then was not convinced and therefore started doing writing and went behind the camera.
Post 2000 you went missing from the acting scene barring a few cameos. What kept you occupied?
Jugal: Writing and direction. I worked on my first directorial debut Roadside Romeo which was an animation film. It took six months of writing with three years of completing it. Then I directed Pyaar Impossible. So I got a little out of the acting scene, but want to act again, as and when I get an opportunity.
So when do we see your next directorial venture?
Jugal: Last couple of years I was busy writing so I have good 3-4 scripts ready. So the painful truth is that scripts don’t pay you by the time you go and sell them. So now I will send my script to the directors. And I am in touch with studios to direct movies for them.
You are good friends with people who own top production houses. Did they never offer you work?
Jugal: I don’t like to use my contacts for work. Karan (Johar) and I have known each other since I was 14 but I would like to keep my personal rapport with them separate.
Has the film industry been fair to you?
Jugal: There is cut throat competition. I am like a business proposition to them…if they don’t see profit in me casting me, they won’t sign me.
Subhash Ghai, filmmaker
Jugal has always been a great student since he was a teenager, and worked with me in Karma. I used to see him observe everything minutely on the sets take keen interest in the entire process of filmmaking. And that explains his interest in writing and direction. He will hopefully do a great job of it.
Shabana Azmi, actor
It was hard being nasty to a child who looked as Masoom as Jugal. It broke my heart when I saw him withdraw in fright when I turned to him and said ‘main mummy nahi hun tumahri’. Masoom would not have worked if it had any other child in the title role. Shekhar (Kapur) handled all the kids really well.
Name: Jugal Hansraj
Movies Done: 10
Acted till: 2000
Known for:Masoom, Papa Kehte Hain, Mohabbatein
Current profile: Writer and Director
Films directed: Roadside Romeo (2008) and Pyaar Impossible (2010)