Bollywood is not for everyone.
Some realise it sooner and tread different paths to make different achievements in life, while others keep trying till the industry throws them off.
In this giant rigmarole of realisations and refusals, we have seen many of our beloved celebs fading out into oblivion, leaving us wondering, “Where are they, how are they...?”
This “Missing Report” series digs deep into the untold stories of such missing stars, and today we are covering Ayesha Julka.
Though it may seem like a forever since the last time the Pehla Nasha actress graced the silver screen; it’s not really so. Just that, the last movie she had been in had fared so poorly at the Box office, we doubt if any of our readers have watched it. Ayesha Julkha was not always associated with such obscure films. In her prime, she was a successful actress with movies like Khiladi, Balmaa, Rang, Sangram, Jai Kishen and Kurbaan.
She had become a favourite of the youngsters for her portrayal of the innocent schoolgirl, Anjali, who secretly takes a liking to her classmate, Sanjay, essayed by a young chocolate-boyish Aamir Khan. While Anjali spends days dreaming about her sweetheart, he starts a fling with a condescending and glamorous Devika. Now, how relatable is that?
“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,” reveals Ayesha Jhulka in an interview.
Fascinated by movies, little Ayesha would often drape her mother’s scarfs and enact the scenes she saw in films, in front of the mirror. Though her mother was strict about watching television, the Air Force background and the modern upbringing was liberating as well. When the opportunity of featuring as a child artist showed up, there wasn’t much resistance from her family. And her debut happened with the 1983 film, Kaise Kaise Log.
7-years later, she was seen again on the silver screen of Telugu cinema, Neti Siddhartha. In 1991, she made her Bollywood debut as a lead actress with Kurbaan; the fairly new Salman Khan was her hero.
In the early 90s, Ayesha was one of the busiest actresses cast in scores of films opposite industry A-listers. By the late 90s, offers started to slim down as Karisma Kapoor, Kajol, Manisha Koirala, and Raveena Tandon became the first choices of filmmakers.
As the 2000s rolled in, a host of new actresses replaced the erstwhile Number 1s; producers would now approach the Ghunghat actress for supporting roles. She played the hero’s sister in the Abhishek Bachchan starer Run (2004), the lead couple’s sister-in-law in Ayesha Takia’s Socha Na Tha (2005), and was seen in a secondary cast in Aishwarya-Abhishekh’s Umrao Jaan (2006). After the 2010 musical, Ada... A Way of Life, Ayesha went on an extended hiatus.
Her love life had always been colourful; she was in a live-in relationship with Nana Patekar but his aggression drove her away. She had a quick affair with Dalaal co-star Mithun Chakraborty and dated Akshay Kumar fleetingly before jumping into a serious involvement with Armaan Kohli. This played a vital role in the downward spiral of her career.
“I just feel that I made this choice because I thought that I might as well leave when I am doing well rather than wait to go down and get frustrated. I wanted to retire at my peak and enjoy the other side of the world.” - Ayesha Jhulka shared speaking to a news daily.
Realising Bollywood had nothing more to offer her, she tied the knot with construction tycoon Sameer Vashi, in an arrange-cum-love marriage set-up. Ayesha now owns a construction company, SamRock, has ventured into fashion with the label Additions and runs a spa named Anantaa.
While away from the camera, the actress had developed a slip disc condition that confined her to the bed momentarily, which caused a sudden weight gain. Those harsh days are behind her now.
A healthy and fit Ayesha tried to make a comeback in with the 2018 film, Genius. She claims to have signed the movie out of respect for the director, Anil Sharma. Genius turned out to be a box office disaster resulting in huge financial losses. That seems like a wrap for the actress’ second innings as there are no other known projects she is associated with.