When I was in ARMS adverting, we were to make an film for the illustrated Weekly. Cuckoo Puri who was handling the account, knew I was crazy about acting and she recommended me for the housewife shot. All I had to do was, sit on a bed against a pillow and a say ’I read IW when I went to relax’. The Director was Shyam Benegal ! I was overawed by his presence and hoped he would sign me up for his next film. Nothing so dramatic happened. He was of course, very charming and made me feel so comfortable that I did not even know I was doing the final take. The man behind the camera was Gobind Nihalani. All I can say is, I have worked for two of the best of Indian Cinema!
‘Puri ho ya parafha, Bharat Mata atta’-I had to mime this song while modelling for a wheat flour ad. My son Arjun and was a little ashamed of this ad as I danced around the dining table, singing the jingle. Since it was meant to be screened only up North, he. relaxed. Imagine Arjun’s horror when he was watching TV with his friends in the medical college in Punjab where he was studying and saw the Ad! He did not tell them it was his mum !
For a press Ad for biscuits
Arpana Sharma is a reputed model and a popular TV anchor. To me, she is the daughter of our Naval Officer friends, Kaka and Asha Sharma. I modeled as her mother in a suitings commercial and it was the first time I had the experience of dubbing. It took me quite a while to synchronise my lip movement as I watched myself on the big screen and repeat the lines. No wonder stars command the price they do. It is tough to get emotions that you show before the camera, into a microphone. Practice no doubt helps and I have subsequently learnt what it takes.
For a product leaflet of a drug for back ache
What with my other activities, I found little time to make the rounds of ad agencies with my pictures, so I was out of the race. A few press ads came once in a while and gradually, the craze wore off and my priorities shifted.
There was an interesting backlash of my short lived modelling phase. Years later , I received a letter from income tax department to file my returns I was not an assessee and my income was not taxable amount. I appeared before the IT authority and was asked to submit accounts for the past three years. Luckily, I had followed Srivatsa’s advice and had details of payments from publications for my articles which regularly appeared in more than 20 publications, Out of curiosity, I asked the officer how they thought of me. He said they had a target and went through the ad hoc payment registers of advertising agencies and found my name in their list of models! it was a blessing in disguise and now, I am a tax paper with a CA to look into my money matters. It pays to be on the right side of law !