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Jassi sees herself in Bollywood

By Hindol Sengupta, IANS

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Popular Indian television star Jassi has said she wants to be a Bollywood star after she sheds her gawky persona as the popular nerd heroine.

"Next I have Bollywood aspirations," Jassi told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of an interaction with around 700 women who sell household products for kitchen container giant Tupperware.

"Hindi films are where I see myself after this serial ends, which like all serials, must some day," grinned the actress who plays the mousy, though not mindless secretary, in the soap "Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin".

The identity of Jassi is a secret as she carries her brace-toothed, thickly bespectacled image even outside the idiot box, though she is widely speculated to be former model Mona Singh.

At the moment, she is contractually bound to the makers of the serial that tops television ratings, Sony TV, for one and a half more years during which she is barred from accepting new projects.

"There are offers but, one, I cannot accept them by contract and, two, I only want to take up something that is completely different from this role. Will my new roles be glamorous? I certainly hope so."

The serial, initially a huge gamble for Sony TV, has paid rich dividends, drawing audiences away from the phenomenally popular family weepies of rival Rupert Murdoch's Star TV.

"There was a need for a serial like Jassi, I think," reasoned the actress.
"TV soaps were either about the very glamorous or the domesticated wife - where was the space for a modern young woman, who might not be very cool per se but has lots of dreams and ideas."

Critics suggest when the serial ends, the actress would have lost prime acting years living the life of a character.

"I don't think so," said Jassi, "I think I would in some ways always be known as Jassi since not many people know who I am in real life. I would be accepted in whatever role I do well. The baggage of Jassi would end with the serial. Since no one knows who the actress is, there would be no association."

In many ways, though, Jassi has become her life. "I spend more time with my screen parents than my real parents, so a lot of times they are there for me just the way my real parents would be.

"Also, the character is a lot like me - from a middle class home, a little unsure, a little confused but with lots of dreams."

At the moment, her prime consideration is to push up ratings, which have fallen in recent weeks. "I would really like a writing push. That would be nice, otherwise it tends to slack a bit.

"Daily soap means there must be daily drama."

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