She has worked in over 200 films — often playing the stereotypical Bollywood mother. Now, veteran actor Farida Jalal is gearing up to play a strict matriarch in her new TV show.
After having essentially done comedy shows like Shararat and Jeannie Aur Juju, the actor is giving the
genre a try, but she does have her reservations.
She says, "The genre is regressive and repeated too often. Every show has the same plot — the hero and heroine fall in love and a negative character creates trouble. Why can’t we think differently?"
In that case, why did she take up this show? "This is a good change for me. I play the head of the family, and that is different from what I normally do. My character,
, is a no-nonsense woman, unlike the goody-goody characters I’ve played in the past," she says.
Though she has done many films, people remember her TV shows. And Jalal reveals that she is happy with her innings on the small screen. She says, "I was among the first few film actors to do TV when I did a cameo in Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, and then went on act in shows like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Star Yaar Kalakaar and many others. I led the way for others to do TV."
But she also feels shortchanged in a film industry, where senior actresses rarely get substantial roles. She says, "I haven’t got my due, but then which actress has? I wanted to do all kinds of roles, but never got those kinds of offers. Senior actresses don’t have many options. However, veteran actors play villains, comedians and dads, or even take on character roles. Paresh Rawal and Anupam Kher have so much to do. I know I’m capable of doing the same, but people don’t think beyond your image when you get slotted."
Jalal hasn’t done a film in the last few years. Ask her why and she says, "You get the same kind of roles. Moreover, where do you see mothers in films these days? Today moms have a hep image and wear backless blouses. I’m not missing out on anything."