I was rejected from my first ad because I don’t look poor enough, says Maya Alagh
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I was rejected from my first ad because I don’t look poor enough, says Maya Alagh

The actress reminisces about her modelling days, opens up about why she prefers movies over television, and reveals the secret behind her happy glow

brunch Updated: Jul 08, 2017 22:49 IST
Ananya Ghosh
Ananya Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Maya Alagh,Govinda,Aishwarya Rai
Maya Alagh was once reject from an ad because she didn’t look poor enough!(Aalok Soni)
Maya’s Bio
  • Date of birth: March 30
  • Sunsign: Aries
  • Place of birth: Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
  • Hometown: Kanpur
  • School/college: Loreto Convent Intermediate College, Lucknow
  • Debut/First break: Chhoti Badi Baatein (1986)/Thodisi Bewafaii (1980)
  • Low point of your life: Losing my mother at the age of 19
  • High point of your life: The birth of my two children, and then of my granddaughter
  • Currently I am...Into organic farming and occasionally acting in films

Television or films, which medium do you prefer?

When I started off, television was disciplined and movies had long shoots, but now it is the other way round. Television really scares me. There is no method to their madness yet! I am open to doing films though.

One role of yours that remains your favourite...?

Majida Begum in The Sword of Tipu Sultan.

You were a doctor. How did you end up doing TV?

Before television, I was into modelling. One day, I had gone to pick up my husband (Sunil Alagh) from office when actor Dalip Tahil noticed me and asked my husband if I would like to do an ad film for him. However, I was rejected, as they wanted a lower middle-class housewife and according to them, I didn’t look poor enough!

Whatʼs the most difficult part of being a working mother?

Taking time out for my family and making sure I am always there for my daughters.

A funny memory from your shooting days:

I taught Govinda to sing Strangers in the Night on the sets of Albela (2001)! He was supposed to croon it to Aishwarya Rai in the movie.

What keeps you busy when you are not shooting?

Farming! I have a small patch of a land in Karjat. But my top priority in life now is my granddaughter. I absolutely love spending time with her.

  • Actor: Akshay Kumar
  • Designer: Sabyasachi, only when his colours are nice!
  • Holiday destination: Paris, and anywhere in Rajasthan
  • Book/author: An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India by Shashi Tharoor
  • Comfort food: Dal chawal, kebabs and chilly pickle.
  • Song: Talat Mahmood’s Shaam-e Gham Ki Qasam and Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World

One character that you wish you could play...?

Grigori Rasputin.

What is your favourite kind of Sunday?

A Sunday when my granddaughter comes home!

One object you love to collect...?

Indian lota-shaped vases. I have 45 odd ones from across the globe.

One family heirloom that you treasure...?

My mother’s pearl earrings. They are very close to my heart.

Whatʼs the one thing you wish you could change about yourself?

I wish I had long legs like Naomi Campbell and hair like Dimple Kapadia!

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From HT Brunch, July 9, 2017

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First Published: Jul 08, 2017 22:49 IST