She is one of her kind. A natural-born scene stealer who never got her due. Farida Jalal has always struck me as being shortchanged. Not that she has ever complained.
“At 74, what is there to complain about in life? God has been great,” she says now leading a semi-reclusive life. The roles have now dried up. But that’s no problem. Farida Jalal is a fighter. She is enjoying every minute of her time with family and friends, so please don’t feel sorry for her.
Flashing back to her career’s beginnings, Farida started her acting career when she was just out of my school St Joseph’s Convent in Panchgani, in a film called Taqdeer in 1967. Farida is still remembered in that film for frolicking in the arms of Nature singing Lataji’s ‘Aaayiye baahar ko hum baant ke’.
It all started when Farida had taken part in a talent contest and even won. Rajesh Khanna and Farida were the finalists. How was Farida to know that she would soon do Aradhana with him?!
“I virtually grew up and grew old in this fraternity. It’s a lovely place to be in. I want to spend all my life in the Indian entertainment industry,’’ she says emotionally.
Farida says she has seen it and done it all. She began acting at a young age and has received plenty of recognition and awards. She has now reached a stage in her life where she needs to be choosy. Farida would love to do challenging roles. However, the parents’ roles in today’s films have been marginalised to the point of becoming non-existent.
Farida once told me she was jealous of her male colleagues like the late Amrish Puri and Anupam Kher who had so much to do even when they played the prototypical patriarch.
The last big-screen role she did was in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year where she played Siddharth Malhotra’s Daadi. In a career of over 45 years, Farida has created quite a few memorable characters . Her first film Taqdeer was a milestone in her career. So was Aradhana. Farida is still remembered by that film and the song Baaghon mein bahaar hai.
After playing Rajesh Khanna’s heroine in Aradhana Farida got typecast in sisters’ roles. It all started with Gopi in 1970 where Farida was offered Dilip Kumar’s sister’s role. Being a diehard fan Farida jumped at the offer. But she has no regrets.
Farida enjoyed playing every sister’s role. She felt sometimes the sister was the film’s heroine. The official heroine would just sing her songs whereas Farida had all the dramatic scenes. In a film called Paras, she was Sanjeev Kumar’s sister. But she had a lot more to do than Raakhee Gulzar who played the heroine. Farida received her first Filmfare award for it. Then she got her second award for Majboor, a film written by Salim-Javed where Amitabh Bachchan played her brother.
“When playing the sister I had the meatier role why would I want to play the heroine?” Farida reasons.
Not that she is completely happy. She would love to get back in front of the camera. Farida says she gets a lot of respect and love in the film industry. She has a son, Yaseen who wants to get into a direction. We wish her all the best in life. And thank you for all the bahaar that you have scattered across the universe.
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