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Small screen, big role

Yesteryear heroine Jayachitra on a different role



JAYACHITRA "We cannot afford to disrupt shooting of serials" Photo: Shaju John

To the lovelorn youth of the 1980s, she was the quintessential face of lyrical romance. Jayachitra evokes memories of another day, of soulful song, of a radiant image of the girl everyone wants to be in love with. There was "Sollathaan Ninaikiren" and "Ilamai Oonjaladukirathu" that stayed on the lips of youths who hummed their tunes, and in their hearts.

The smiles stayed on when Jayachitra moved to the small screen, a transition as much of technology as of personality. Today, the actress-turned-director and serial producer is set to move on to a newer role — not in tele-serials but as champion of the cause of serial producers. She has been unanimously elected chairperson of the action committee of the TV Serial Producers' Guild of South India.

Talking to Jayachitra at her Poes Garden residence about her career that spanned three decades in films and another decade in television, the first thought that strikes you is that she is one of the few actresses who has starred in "Kamal and Rajni" films.

No arm-twisting

Jayachitra has got into business straightaway as chairperson. Her busy schedule in the teleserial "Sivaranjini" does not affect her zeal. She is clear that all differences with various unions should be ironed out smoothly. "No shooting schedule for a television serial should be suspended for any reason. All problems should be resolved through talks after the schedule is over. This is my one-point agenda," says the actress.

"I don't plan to cross swords with any union but I want to make them understand the plight of the producer. I want to ensure they do not indulge in any arm twisting or blackmail tactics," she says. "The union members should understand that television serials had given many of their colleagues a second innings in their career. Many were in a financial crisis and now lead better lives," she adds.

Shooting for tele-serials is like daily newspaper work. "We cannot afford to disrupt shootings. It is difficult for continuity. Getting dates from stars is tough. Payments vary for each channel. It is not possible to have the same rates for all serials. The cost should be worked according to the budget. Payments are received only after 90 days. It is teamwork and the producer should not be put to unnecessary stress," she feels.

"I have written to all the unions and we plan to have a discussion. Minor problems should be sorted out. For instance, there are unwritten rules by certain unions, which specify the number of workers to be employed. We have to reduce the number of workers on low budget serials. This is another issue that gets priority on my agenda," she says.

"There should be professionalism. I take all effort to produce a quality serial without `time lags'. Scenes should move swiftly to ensure that viewers are glued to the screen, as there is stiff competition from other channels," she adds.

Political career

From films to politics would seem to be a natural transition to many. Jayachitra is in politics too, but she is not the typical glamorous face wearing party colours. "I am a Congress loyalist though now I am not very active. Soniaji sent greetings for the success of my television serial," she says.

S. SHIVAKUMAR

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