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She got a break with Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan in which she played the vital role of Mandodari, the queen consort of King Ravana. She is Aparajita Bhushan. The actress has since then quit acting and turned writer, and lives in Pune now. But her real introduction is that she is the daughter of the renowned film actor Bharat Bhushan. Aparajita Bhushan speaks exclusively to FilmiBeat about her journey from being a dubbing artiste to an actress in Ramayan, and her father in the last years of his life. Excerpts from the interview:

How did you get the role of Mandodari in the epic television show Ramayan?

It was a dream, and stepping stone for me. At that time I needed work and it was the best opening I could ever get. I used to dub for Japanese and Chinese films in Hindi and English. I was called to Ramanand Sagar’s home to dub for some other character in Ramayan, and that is how I met the makers for the first time. This is the story behind me getting to play Mandodari. I knew nothing about acting, but I must say, the way Ramanand Sagar handled me and taught me, there was no looking back for me after that. ALSO READ: Ramayan Top Entertainer, Kanika Kapoor Becomes Most-Searched Celeb During COVID-19 Lockdown!

Wasn’t your mother also a dubbing artiste?

You are talking about Ratna Bhushan. She was my second mom and was a dubbing artiste. In fact, she got me dubbing work and that is how I got Ramayan, too. I am really happy that Ramayan has been re-telecast on Doordarshan in the (COVID-19) lockdown and we are reliving those glorious days. My phone has not stopped ringing since then. I am so proud that I was part of that epic on Indian TV!

There were reports about your father Bharat Bhushan’s financial status and travelling by bus in the last years of his life. Why didn’t you clarify them?

Of course, there were financial issues and my father was too reserved a person to go and ask for work. But he would gracefully accept the work people offered him. Besides, he knew he had to work. I was married and staying separately with my children in Lokhandwala. I could not reach out to the film industry for him.

Ab bolne ka waqt mila toh I am clarifying and this return of Ramayan has given me the opportunity to clarify the misreports about my father working as a watchman and travelling my bus. I don’t think he ever travelled by bus! He often took a taxi to work and in case he got late he would come home by rickshaw.

There were bad reports around his death, too?

My father had a very dignified death. Contrary to the reports, he lived in a four-bed room house in Malad (Mumbai) and that is where he suffered a heart attack in 1992. I was at Lokhandwala and by the time I could reach, he had passed away. But I remember meeting the media there, about 40 people were there for his cremation.

For those who don’t know, my father Bharat Bhushan owned three bungalows – one in Pali Hill, the second one at Santacruz (both in Mumbai) and the third one in Pune. The Pali Hill bungalow was one of its kind in those days. It had three gardens. It was later bought by actor Jeetendra from my father.

My father lost his cars and bungalows but kept his books. He loved them and did not part with them till the end. ALSO READ: Latest TRP Ratings: Doordarshan & Ramayan Top The Chart; Baba Aiso Varr Dhundo Enters The List!

Are the books with you now?

I really did not inherit anything of my father’s belongings. I asked for the books but I didn’t get them. I dont want to talk about it, as it is an altogether different story. Like my father, meri bhi jaan unn kitabon mein thi (I loved those books). I have inherited my father’s principles, and his love for reading and music.

I really don’t know what happened to the books. I requested Ratna ji to give them to me, but she refused. Maybe she wanted to keep them as a memory but later all the books were gone, which hurt me even more. There were some rare books and it hurts even more to hear that one of the books on Mirza Ghalib, which was from my father’s collection, was being sold outside Churchgate station in Mumbai. This was informed to me by a relative of mine.

You should also know that my father played Mirza Ghalib in Sohrab Modi’s film of the same name. They had watched the film with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and actress Suraiya, which was a big honour. That book which had his initials was being sold outside a railway station in Mumbai!

Was Bharat Bhushan short of work towards the end?

There were times when there was no shooting for two months but my father never got angry or complained about it. He was always calm. The only thing he would feel bad for was my sister Anuradha who was a paraplegic. He would tell me that he wished she passed away before he left this world. He also knew he had to work for my sister and had to run the house.

Did Ratna Bhushan really not care about your sister and you?

There was interaction when I was there, but after my father passed away, not much. But I have to give it to her that she stood by him till the very end and the two were happy together.

Your father didn’t save any money, they say. Is there anyone from the film industry who kept in touch with him till the end?

I will just say to people to be careful with what we have. My father never learnt to save. And to answer the second part of the question – people came to our house till we had the bungalow and would come and stay with us for weeks. My father also would’ve never imagined he would lose all this, unhone socha nahi hoga ke sab chala jayega. Once we lost everything, people stopped coming to meet him.

ALSO READ: Doordarshan To Bring Back Ramanand Sagar’s Shri Krishna

Originally posted 2020-04-25 08:16:07.

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