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Jayaprada

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Interview with a heartrob of many a Telugu population

Jayaprada

Undoubtedly the most classic face ever to have graced the Indian film screen, JAYAPRADA today is a dignified, graceful wom

an, secure in herself. Its those very same classic features, free of any make-up that hit you think! on the nose, and do all the talking for her, while you are content to be stunned into silence. She is quiet and understated in her demeanor, her conversation punctuated by, uninhibited laughter… Jayaprada, the woman, actress, and politician, would like to don another hat in the new millennium - that of motherhood.

Q. Have you stopped acting altogether?

Answer : Oh no, that’s the main part of my life, my own identity. But yes, I am becoming more choosy now. I am doing a couple of Hindi films, then, I have some Bengali, Kannada and Telugu projects lined up.

Q. How did it all begin, for you?

Answer : I was fourteen when I started my film career. Someone saw me dancing at a function once and, since my father was a Telugu film financier, it just went on from there. My first film as a heroine was K. Balachander’s, opposite Rajnikant and Kamal Hassan. I remember there was this wide shot we were doing which all three of us were muffing up turn by turn, and Balachanderji just gave Kamal a slap! I got so scared I started crying and ran away from the sets. My father had to take me shopping that evening, buy me mounds and mounds of clothes and jewellery, before I could be convinced to go back the next day.

Q. How did you decide to get into politics?

Answer : When people came to know I’m joining politics, they were really shocked, because I’m such an introvert by nature! I respected NTR a lot; his policies were close to the way I think. And what I like about Mr. Naidu is that he concentrates on the rural women, which is something I really wanted. And he discusses everything, so that we all feel he gives equal importance to our opinions. There are no solo decisions.

Q. How involved are you really, as President of the Telugu Mahila Mandal?

Answer : Well, the post means more opportunity to give my services to the women. Even if not 100% - even if I can satisfy them only 10%, there will be a meaning to my life. I also want to make a centre for female babies, where they can be safe. All this talk that we are equal to men is just rubbish - families are still throwing these babies out on the rubbish heap! In my personal capacity, the Jayaprada Charitable Trust has set up 180 computer centres all over Andhra Pradesh, only for girls, where they pay just 20% of the fees and we take care of the rest. I also plan to set up a diagnostic centre here soon.

Q. How would you describe yourself?

Answer : I’m an introvert. I talk less, listen more, and believe in action! I try to be a normal woman, like any other housewife. Sometimes I too quarrel with my husband, especially when he forgets to give me my pocket money. See, how much ever you may earn for yourself, there is a sense of belonging when your husband gives you money.

Q. What do you most enjoy spending on?

Answer : Jewellery. I love diamonds. Otherwise too, I just love shopping, I can just shop and shop.

Q. So, is money the most important thing in life?

Answer : (Seriously) Not the most, but I would say it is important. However talented you may be, there is no status in society without money. Look at Savithri, Meena Kumari… nobody came forward to help them when they needed it, there was not even enough money to pay for their funeral. In that sense, it is also an evil. I think greed and excess will lead you to trouble.

Q. Life is never easy - for anyone. How do you cope?

Answer : I am a very emotional person. I used to be very timid, but I’ve learnt to become stronger now. Women have to make a lot of compromises. Yes, I’ve suffered a lot, also suffered because of some ugly rumours but I’m immune to all those problems

now. I don’t want to waste any more time in life.

Q. How do you handle criticism?

Answer : I think the people, my fans, give the answer to that on my behalf. I cannot stoop to the same level and degrade myself - that is not my upbringing. I am really grateful to the media for their support, and also the public; I am always aware that I have reached this position only because of their love.

Q. Do you ever regret anything?

Answer : Yes, cutting short my education. The way normal teenagers spend their free time - I miss not having had that. Left to myself, I would have probably been a doctor, I love that profession.

Q. People chase you, admire you, hang up your pin-ups on their wall. Have you ever been a fan of anyone?

Answer : The only autograph I’ve ever taken in my life has been Mother Theresa’s. She is my inspiration. She’s Great!

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