Ritika Bajaj Vijra’s short film, ‘Ab Rab Havale’, stars veteran actress Farida Jalal in a pivotal role. Set against the backdrop of 1947 India-Pakistan partition, the movie showcases the emotional journey of a family. Farida ji plays the role of a mother whose sons are planning to leave her alone in Pakistan and leave for India. We recently caught up with her for a quick chat, and believe us, talking to her was really fun.
Was the role in ‘Ab Rab Havale’ emotionally draining for you?
Yes, it was. I didn’t use the glycerine. I was crying my heart out during the shoot because it has a mother’s dilemma and a situation in which her children are forced to leave her behind. They (children) had a point stating that she has lead her life to the fullest and is not even capable of walking straight now, so she will be hindering their travel. They were running and my character is not even able to walk properly. The situation was really heart-wrenching and Annup Sonii played the son who loves her mother the most, but has to go with the situation. The whole experience was lovely. We had a night shoot at Madh Island and I enjoyed every moment of the shoot.
What do you enjoy more, doing films, TV serials or short films?
Films, films and films… Be it a short film or a feature film. Films are my first love. Television actors like us are unfortunately slotted in films. We play a mother, film after film after film. Sometimes even the dialogues are same, the same sarees; only the son changes. Whereas in television, you have been given different kinds of roles to do, you are given different characters. I have done ‘Star Yaar Kalakaar’, ‘Dekh Bhai Dekh’ and more on television. But then I am film wali to the core. I started with the films and I hope I will end with the films.
Do you feel bored by playing a mother’s role again and again?
Of course, for every actor who is given same thing to do and there’s nothing different then it is boring. If you see’ Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, there’s a scene where I am talking to my daughter about the boundaries, and then there is a scene where I tell her to run away. So, that’s something new and even people appreciated. So, I would love to get there and do different things. It’s very rare that a writer picks up his pen and gives a new dimension to a mother’s role.
Which is your favourite film on partition?
I think ‘Ab Rab Havale’ (laughs). I think even ‘Pinjar’ that was also about partition.
You have worked with veteran actors like Rishi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, etc. What would you like to say about the present generation actors?
They are very good. They are full of power. But of course, I miss the depth the actors had those days. Dilip Kumar was the greatest actor ever, Raj Kapoor was the greatest showman ever and Dev Sahab (Dev Anand) was the charming boy; they didn’t go to the gym, they didn’t have gym-toned bodies, but they had so much of talent and charm. They impressed their fans without biceps. I wonder why nowadays everyone wants to go to the gym. They should concentrate on their work in front of the camera, there’s more concentration needed.
You have done many shows on TV like ‘Shararat’ and others. Do you relate to the content on television now?
Not now, it’s (content) terrible. Where are we going with all the snakes and tantrics? Every show has that. In fact, nowadays I am watching Supriya Pilgaonkar’s show ‘Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’. I enjoyed the couple of episodes of the show because it is little different. I will follow that show till it doesn’t go off track.
You have played so many characters. Which one character is the closest to you?
There are so many characters that have touched my heart while doing them. (Pauses) ‘Mammo’ was special because it was very much like what my grandmother was in real life. So, I think that rubbed off on me as well.
When are we going to see you on the big screen again?
I wonder when. Actually you should ask the producers that question. (Laughs) But I don’t blame them. I watch every film, I am a movie buff, I don’t miss a single film. There’s no role that could have come to me.
When we told her that we miss her on the big screen, she said:
“So sweet! The young generation is telling me that they are missing me, my war is won. The children tell me that they miss me and they want to see me more, it is lovely. This love is my success. I would love to do more work, but let me be frank, it is not coming my way. The writers are not writing anything and I can’t fit in a young mother’s role. There are no characters that I can do, and if there is, I am sure the producers will come and knock my door.
It was lovely talking to Farida ji and we so hope to see her back on the big screen soon.
Check out the short film ‘Ab Rab Havale’ here: