Ayesha Jhulka: Was reluctant about returning to screen because there was a long gap

Jhulka, who is set to make her web series debut with Prime Video's Hush Hush, was last seen in the 2018 film Genius.

Press Trust of India September 14, 2022 10:39:11 IST
Ayesha Jhulka: Was reluctant about returning to screen because there was a long gap

Ayesha Jhulka

When director Tanuja Chandra offered her “Hush Hush“, actor Ayesha Jhulka on Tuesday said she was initially in two minds about making a comeback.

But Chandra’s relentless pursuit made her change her decision, added the actor, best known for hit 1990 films such as “Khiladi” and “Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar“.

Jhulka, who is set to make her web series debut with Prime Video’s “Hush Hush“, was last seen in the 2018 film “Genius“.

“The first time she (Chandra) connected with me for the show, I told her, I have this craze of OTT. I was not really ready because there was a long gap. But I was excited thinking ‘What if I do this?’ I have to give her credit that because of her I am here, she wouldn’t take no. She kept on saying, I can’t do this without you. I love her, the entire team. These girls (co-stars) remind me of my time when I was young. I am still young!” she told reporters at the press conference of the upcoming series here.

“Hush Hush” is a seven-episode thriller is created by Chandra, known for directing films such as Dushman, Sangharsh and Qarib Qarib Singlle.

Also starring Juhi Chawla, Soha Ali Khan Pataudi, Kritika Kamra, Shahana Goswami and Karishma Tanna, “Hush Hush follows a group of women whose picture-perfect lives begin to come undone when an unexpected event brings to the fore secrets from their past and threatens everything that’s dear to them. Shooting for a web series felt like a “never-ending” process, said Jhulka.

“We shot seven episodes for ‘Hush Hush’, and we had prepped for it for a long time. We never used to prep for so long for films. Things have changed in a good way in the last few years. The cast, the crew, and the makers made me feel comfortable. I wasn’t made to feel weird or awkward about doing something I have never done before,” she added.

Jhulka, who has worked with directors like Abbas-Mustan and Mansoor Khan, said she feels lucky to have been directed by a woman for the first time in her career of 30 years.

“She made me realise the potential inside me. She made me do things I think only a woman could. I don’t mean male directors are not doing a great job, but I feel she could understand the depth of it,” she said.

On-screen representation matters, said Chandra, adding she has been telling women’s stories right from the outset. “It is not an agenda, it is something I live to do. Representation makes a huge difference when we talk about women’s stories because it is an untapped treasure of storytelling, which for centuries has never been considered important,” the acclaimed director said.
However, there is still a long way to go, she pointed out. “After so many years I can say the time has come when we can do this without hesitation… We always had to have a male hero along with the heroine… Until half the stories are not female driven or have female directors or writers, I don’t think it will be an equal playing field. We still have time to go,” she added.
Pataudi, who made her OTT debut with ZEE5’s “Kaun Banegi Shikharwati” earlier this year, said she is elated to see women like her who are in their 40s to be represented on digital platforms.

“Prime Video is leading the way and has understood the need to tell these stories. Women are working on screen and behind the scenes as well. There are very few people like Tanuja ma’am, Vikram and all of us on stage. We are scratching the surface, we should be happy due to them. Personally, I am very sad that 10 years ago they didn’t know what to do with me or someone in their 40s because we have seen women as heroines or the mother of the hero,” she said.

Produced by Vikram Malhotra’s Abundantia Entertainment, “Hush Hush” will start streaming on September 22.

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