Bangladeshi actress Jaya Ahsan would like to do good roles ‘anywhere in the world!’

Jaya Ahsan, the Bangladeshi actress who has done 16 Indian Bengali films, makes her Hindi debut with Kadak Singh. Photo: Ace Proton Communications

She has had a glorious career back home in Bangladesh and has also shined in Bengali cinema in India. Jaya Ahsan has just made her Hindi debut with Kadak Singh and has global ambitions no less, with a ‘Conditions Apply’ tag. And that is: “I would like to do good roles in meaningful cinema anywhere in the world, be it Bollywood (sic), Hollywood, Bengal or anywhere.”

The comely lady, with whom I have a conversation on Zoom, isn’t talking hot air either. Her film, Fereshta, an Iranian-Bangladesh co-production, was recently shown at the Indian International Film Festival (IFFI), Goa, and she became a rare foreign star who had three more films shown there—the Bengali Putul Nacher Itikatha and Ardhangini and, of course, Kadak Singh, which being an OTT release, premiered there.

About working on Kadak Singh, Jaya especially credits Pankaj Tripathi with making it a “lifetime experience”. “He’s such a simple, sweet human being and a  very giving actor and co-star,” she raves. “I had a wonderful time on set and there are lots of memories! On the one hand, he was keen to talk to me in Bengali, and on the other hand, he was such a good cook and would bring momos and lithi chokha, the very spicy but delicious Bihari dish, for all of us.”

She adds, “There was an intimate sequence that he made extremely natural. Even while performing that, I felt a natural bond, because he is so down-to-earth. There is no starry behavior and he is so normal, and such a darling!”

A model, TV artiste and actress back home as well as in Kolkata later, Jaya, beginning with Aborto in 2013, has done around 16 films in Bengal, and has an alternative home in Kolkata. What she would love is also doing Hindi films with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Sujoy Ghosh and Shoojit Sircar in particular and, as per her own perception of meaningful cinema and roles, good Indian OTT series. “The kind of cinema and roles I believe in are seen more on Indian OTT series today, like Dahaad, even more than in cinema!” is her simple answer to why she would love to do web series.

She has the same reply when I quiz her about doing a mainstream commercial movie. “I would definitely want to be a part of such a film if it isn’t a no-brainer. My role should be meaningful and an integral part of the story.”

Nevertheless, she is screening a few offers as of now. And as she says, “Bengal and Bangladesh are my comfort zone. And I would like to push myself beyond it!”

Jaya Ahsan would love to do meaningful cinema anywhere in the world. Photo: Ace Proton Communications

Jaya has won a record five National awards in Bangladesh (and others) and a few in India as well—she is the first talent from Bangaldesh to have won a Filmfare award for the Bengali film, Bishorjan, and several more from Bengal Film Journalists’ Association, Zee Cine awards and other organizations.

As she says about such a grand achievement, “Accolades and awards are okay, they are nice, but they are just a bonus! It is the artistic journey that is very important, and I want to enjoy only the journey. More awards and recognition can create a problem for artistes, making them lax, deflecting from the purity of acting. I want to be a learner all my life, not a teacher!” she smiles.

Jaya was never aiming to be an actor, though. Beginning as a model in 1997, she graduated to roles on TV and has worked briefly with a newspaper and in a children’s school as well. Candidly, she tells you, “My father wanted me to be in service. I had no background in acting but I found myself comfortable doing it and learnt on the job after I got TV and then switched to films.”

Jaya Ahsan from Bangladesh is a woman of many talents. Photo: Ace Proton Communications

Jaya is a woman of many arts and talents though. She has completed a Diploma course in Rabindra Sangeet with Sangeet Bhavan at Santiniketan, and has learnt painting and craft.

She humbly claims that she is not much of a social worker, though she continues to her bit for environment and nature, looks after stray dogs and believes ardently in animal rescue. “This is something I do dedicatedly for myself and get a lot of joy doing it!” she smiles. She would love to be a farmer and no day starts for her without a bit of gardening at home. She is also the brand ambassador in Bangladesh for UNAID, the United Nations Agency for International Development, which involves traveling to remote places occasionally, “But I would not like to glorify that, and it does not occupy a major chunk for my time. It’s just a responsibility and I think every human being should do his bit for society.”

So when will she enter politics? “I can’t see so far ahead, but certainly not now,” is her cryptic reply.

And who are her favorite actors? “There are many in Bangladesh, India and abroad, but if I have to single out one actress, it would be Smita Patil. There was also the late Dolly Anwar in Bangladesh, and among actors, Javier Bardem from Spain.”

Clearly, Jaya Ahsan’s film ambitions are as vast as her knowledge of world cinema.






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here