Actress Dalljeit Kaur, who made a comeback on the small screen after a year with the supernatural thriller "Qayamat Ki Raat", says content makers on Indian television were not willing to cast her for younger roles in shows as she is a mother of one and 35 years old.
Asked if age, marital status and motherhood is looked down upon in the small screen, Dalljiet, 35, told IANS: "I faced all of this for a year. I was looking young. They (makers) would approach me for a mother's role, but they would say 'You are looking young'.
"Then why are you not casting me for something else? Because I am a mother? So, the conflict of this thought level really used to depress me."
Dalljeit says people were apprehensive about casting her.
"I am a good actor. Give me a romantic scene and see how I do it. There was nobody willing to do that. I was auditioned for so many roles, but they were all fixed at 'You don't look like a mother and you don't look young' in their heads as they knew I go back to a son."
The actress thanked TV czarina Ekta Kapoor for looking beyond all of that and giving her a role in Star Plus' "Qayamat Ki Raat" In the show, she plays Karuna, who is possessed.
Earlier, Dalljiet has featured in shows like "Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?", "Kulvaddhu" and "Swaragini - Jodein Rishton Ke Sur".
Her personal life has caught a lot of attention in the past few years due to her separation with television actor Shaleen Bhanot, whom she married in 2009. Together, they have a son named Jayden, but the couple split in 2015 after Dalljiet came out about being a victim of domestic violence.
Now Dalljiet is living a happy life.
"I am living my life. One thing I know is that I want to be happy. If I am going to be happy truly, Jayden and my parents will be fine. When a lot of things started falling apart, one thing I knew was what makes me happy the most is this career and money, because you cannot survive without it. I knew I can act to a decent level. So, I wanted to come back (to acting) and I wanted to work hard," she said.
The actress continues to be vocal about her personal struggles and says it is important to speak out against injustice.
"Yes, things went wrong. Yes, I probably made the mistake of choosing something or someone... But it is okay. I am okay to say that things went wrong and I am okay to say today I am figuring it out."
Battling against the society's taunts was something that made her stronger.
"When things were falling apart (between Shaleen and I), there were a lot of women who said 'Single mother? There will be men chasing you, you will have a terrible life and whoever will come, will not be able to take care of Jayden'. They just gave me a picture of a suicide... like 'your life is gone'. And the more they told me things like this, I was motivated to work harder.
"It is sad that our society pulls you down. It is very sad," she rued.
By Durga Chakravarty