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Dhaka Tribune

From Naina to Devi: Cinematic metamorphosis of Jaya Ahsan

  • Her new film ‘Kadak Singh’ will come out on Friday
  • Jaya Ahsan plays the character of Kadak Singh's girlfriend, Naina
Update : 07 Dec 2023, 03:50 PM

“Kadak Singh," Jaya Ahsan’s debut film in Bollywood, is set to be released on Friday on the ZEE OTT platform in India.

'Kadak Singh' poster

Directed by critically acclaimed "Pink" and "Lost" director Anirudh Roy Chowdhury, this film features Pankaj Tripathi, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sanjana Sanghi, and Jaya Ahsan as lead characters.

Beforehand, at the 54th International Film Festival (IFFI) opening day on Monday, the trailer of the movie was released. "Kadak Singh" is set to premiere in Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

According to the teaser, the plot of the film revolves around a joint director at the Department of Financial Crimes, Kadak Singh, played by Tripathi, who is suffering from retrograde amnesia. As Kadak Singh is admitted to the hospital, four contradictory accounts of his past are presented to him, making him doubt reality. In the movie, Jaya Ahsan plays Kadak Singh's girlfriend, Naina.

Kolkata is buzzing with excitement ahead of the film's release. In an exclusive conversation with Dhaka Tribune, Jaya Ahsan expressed her desire saying: “I want to be like Naina from Kadak Singh.”

Naina is an unexpected discovery of Bollywood, unravelling another version of the ever-graceful and talented Jaya Ahsan. In return, she is contributing something innovative to the industry as an artist.

As a film industry, Bollywood can be compared to a huge banyan tree casting the shadow of its branches and twigs across the world.

Yet they do not overshadow themselves. The root of this banyan tree lies deep within, intricately expanded. In this banyan tree like Bollywood, birds of different feathers build their nests. Bollywood promotes diversity. It connects contradictions. The other film industries across the world cannot appreciate this diversity like Bollywood.

As Jaya said: “Nothing can be better for an artist than expanding her horizons. And Bollywood not only offers challenges, it offers a wide range of opportunities as well.”

Recently, her second work with Nurul Alam Atique titled “Peyarar Subash” (2023) or “Scent of Sin” was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival.

Diverse characters

The diversity in her works has always been the talk of the showbiz town. She learned to say no to the traditional norms of society at such a young age and expanded her horizons crossing the boundaries one by one.

Jaya Ahsan. Photo: Facebook/ Jaya Ahsan

It is a matter of absolute surprise that a Bangladeshi actor gained fame through her acting in Bollywood and Iranian movies. It is something that overwhelmed her fans with enjoyment.

From Naina to Devi, from Bilkis Banu to Kusum, Jaya is a tremendous actor in all her characters.

Can she find Jaya amidst of doing all these characters? The characters of Naina, Debi, Bilkis Banu- do they swept away in the chronicles of time and events?

Jaya thinks that no matter how big an artist is, these strong characters are persistent in the actor. Therefore, the winner of the National Award of Bangladesh five times aspires to be as courageous as Bilkis Banu from the movie Guerilla (2011). She wants to be as open-minded as Meghna from Ardhangini (2023). Sometimes, she wants to attain paranormal power like Ranu from the movie Debi. She wants to be like Kusum from Putul Nacher Itikotha- strong and stout. She wants to glorify herself with the essence of all these characters. 

Talking about her experience of acting in the film “Kadak Singh”, Jaya said: “Tony Da (Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury) created such a beautiful bond among us- all the actors and actores of the movies.”

Pankaj Tripathi, responsible and respectful to every other artist on the shooting set, never let others realize how eminent he is as an actor. According to Jaya, he is such a humble person, down to earth. He used to discuss with the artist his struggle he started in Bihar to be an actor in the shooting intervals.

Jaya said: “I do listen a lot from the elders. Mindful listening always enriches us.”

A bibliophile

In the Sunday evening conversation, Jaya revealed that she loves to read a lot.

Jaya Ahsan. Photo: Facebook/ Jaya Ahsan

Rahul Sankrityayan to Federico García Lorca, a diverse array of literary luminaries has found a cherished place among her favorites. Notably, Jhumpa Lahiri and Gabriel García Márquez stand prominently on her list of preferred authors.

When it comes to favorite authors- Jaya has a long list from several genres. She mentioned the name of Nabarun Bhattacharya in the first place.

In this hour-long conversation- she expressed her admiration for Humayun Ahmed, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Mahasweta Devi, Joy Goswami, and Syed Shamsul Haque.

“Reading increases the power of imagination to a certain level where the blind can see as well. I got that feeling when I acted in the role of a blind person,” said Jaya.

She also blurted out: “I like people who are sensitive.”

Perfectly imperfect

In the context of Bangladeshi films, she said that there are so many incomplete and faulty films that are made along with the perfect ones. But she said that those imperfect films pose a distinct beauty.

Jaya Ahsan. Photo: Facebook/ Jaya Ahsan

These imperfect works are something to be proud of for Bangladesh.

She narrated the anecdote of the teenage girl who aspired to be a carpenter but ended up being one of the most indomitable and captivating actors in the country.

Although she has lived an urban-centered life, she has a yarn for the villages of Bangladesh.

She loves the streets of Gopalganj. Chittagong, and the Bandarban- are her favorites. Once upon a time, somewhere in Rangpur, the memory she gathered standing in the field of golden wheat watching the train speeding away, still drags her. In her words, it “haunts” her.

The sweet conversation directed its way to a bitter tone. When the context of trolling and bullying on social media through those negative and jealousy-filled comments arose, Jaya reminded the poetry of Jibanananda Das, reciting:

“Slowly, over the river of our hearts

Some swans are still making their way”

She said: “Life should be like a swan. A swan swims in the muddy water. But when it comes out of the water, it throws away all the dirt and mud with a splash.”

Art is all about worshiping beauty. The artist is expanding her wings to the horizon, eliminating all the boundaries one by one- from the heartthrob of Dhallywood to the Tollywood of Kolkata, to the magical Bollywood. After that, Iranian film society.

She knows how to create her way through the struggle to success. In the chaos of the characters of Bilkis, Debi, Kusum, Naina- sometimes that bewildering wind from that golden wheat field of Rangpur steals Jya away from her silver-screen celeb life.

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