Always wanted to be a model but my height did not support my ambition!!Nor were there so many opportunities as there was no TV. College gave ma a platform and that was good enough at that time..Small town girl with small aspirations!!
At the district Rotary conference in Mysore in 1964
At the college farewell party
In 1972 , I read an advertisement calling for a housewife knowing two or three South Indian languages to model for an ad film. I mailed my picture and waited. A week later, the producer came home and said I was selected ! the shooting was to be the next day at a studio in Andheri, miles away from where we lived. Dad was visiting and I persuaded him to go with the me. He brought along his Perry Mason and read the whole book while I modeled for Vicks Formula 44, a cough syrup. I was supposed to be asking the doctor a cure for my husband’s cough and walk home reflectively, thinking about the medicine she prescribed . The director was happy with my performance with only two takes . Next to us, in another part of the Studio ,Randhir Kapoor was shooting for a film. He took a break and came to watch us!
The ad ran for nearly three years in movie houses and it gave me a kick every time people recognised me at shopping centres or in the bus. While I did the Kannada, Tamil,Telugu and Malayalam version, Chitra Singh, the famous Ghazal singer, did the Bengali one. Then came a film for a detergent. I had read about stars taking along a chaperone to shoots and asked Srivatsa to go with me. He very conveniently asked his junior officer, T M Subramaniam, to go with me. The poor guy had no choice but ‘obey’ his confidential report writer! But Subbu, as we called him, was more like my brother . I could count on him for any help. (When I confronted my publisher JAICO, for messing around with me about my book, it was Subbu who came along to give me moral support.)
Sangeeta Bijlani was the model for a soft drink . It was a party scene and I was one of the guests . The shoot was at a lovely house in Worli. This time , I took my friend’s sister as a chaperone . As one of the ‘guest’ models did not show up, she got to fill in for her!
Srivatsa was transferred to Vizag and my modelling career came to an end. Or so I thought. When we came back to Mumbai 1979, I went back to the same producers. But many more housewives had come into the fray and assignments were few. Maya Alagh was the reigning queen of housewife modelling; every client wanted only her and those who could not afford her, went for the likes of me. I had no problem.