Actress Ayesha Jhulka, who is making her Bollywood comeback after seven years with Anil Sharmas "Genius", says she has survived in the entertainment industry on her own terms and conditions, and never struggled because of work.
Ayesha, 45, is often remembered for her roles in films like "Kurbaan", "Khiladi", "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar", "Waqt Hamara Hai" and "Masoom". She was last seen in "ADA...A Way of Life" in 2010.
"I have been very lucky that I have not struggled in the industry and never wanted to. So, I didn't want to be kicked out of the industry. I was a little selfish that way. I wanted to leave it on my own terms, and it is very difficult to say no when you are doing really well," Ayesha told IANS in an email interview.
Speaking to news agency IANS, Ayesha revealed how she was gravely injured while filming the finale sequence of the Mansoor Ali Khan-directed film. "It was bleeding a lot and the shooting was stopped. Everyone came running and Aamir was screaming and shouting at the spot boys to get ice. He put a big block of ice on the wound (on the forehead) and I could only see his expressions and people around," Ayesha said.
"I got a surgery done and was asked to take rest for three days, otherwise the blood would flow through my nose to my throat if I kept my head straight," she added. Ayesha said that some people from the film's unit said that there would be a "big problem" if she wouldn't be able to shoot.
However, Ayesha shot for the scene with a red cap to hide her stitches. "I told Mansoor that, 'Don't worry, I will shoot just give me something to cover these stitches'. So they gave me a red cap. I used to keep my head up just before the shoot and give expressions. Everyone used to tease me that, 'You have given blood for Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar," Ayesha told IANS.
"When I got married (to Sameer Vashi), I wanted to lead a civilian's life and wanted to see the other side of the world. As I started working at a very young age (in 1983), for many years, I just worked.
"After a point I wanted to enjoy my life, I wanted to party with my friends and do lot of things for which I have to thank my husband, who has opened that world for me which I have been enjoying all these years," she added.
During her break, Ayesha also went through harsh times.
"I was bed-ridden for some time because I had a slip disc problem. Because of that, I had gained a lot of weight which I'm losing now. So, I took a break," she said.
Why she chose "Genius" for her Bollywood comeback?
Ayesha explained: "I have not been doing much work because I felt something really nice would comes my way. I signed ‘Genius' out of respect and he (Anil Sharma) really wanted me to do this film. After seven years I have signed a film. We shot in Mauritius and we have few days schedule left which we will shoot in Mumbai."
She says it was "out of choice" that she didn't work in films and decided to focus on her personal life.
"I love the film industry and want to do good work that comes my way. I have been getting lots of offers from television but I'm conditioned to doing films -- I don't know how it would be as it is about commitment and I'm a little scared to make that," she said.
Starting off as a child artiste in the 1983 film "Kaise Kaise Log", Ayesha said acting was always in her wish list.
"I was a movie buff since my childhood days. My mother used to scold me that there is a particular time to watch TV. But my father is from the Air Force, so I grew up liberally."
"I think acting came to me naturally as I used to spend a lot time in front of the mirror wrapping my mother's scarf around me and enacting the scenes from the movies," she said.
One film, which is close to Ayesha's heart is "Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar". The movie has completed 25 years since its release in 1992. It also featured superstar Aamir Khan.
"There are so many people, who have told me that -- the cycle race, the ragging, the way everyone used to talk, the tendency of people to pull the other person down to be at the top -- everything is relatable."
"It has been happening in the college days and hostels. It is still happening so I think it is a very youth-oriented film. Youngsters still come to me and say that they have watched the film and they loved it. So, I feel really proud that I was a part of this film," Ayesha said.
"Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar" will be aired on &pictures on January 1, 2018.