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Winsome in glasses ’n’ braces

Who’s Mona Singh?” A 25-year-old stepped into a role on September 1, 2003, and we have to wonder whether she will ever step out of it. For, Jassi is proving that she is always Jassi.

And the earnest, sincere, hard-working employee of Gulmohar in Sony’s super-hit soap Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin has seen one of her strongest audiences emerge in Calcutta. Huge amounts of fan mail and some of the top ratings have been recorded from here. The squealing girls who queued up to meet her on Wednesday and Thursday, were just the final proof

Jasmeet Walia, the protagonist of Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin believed to be model Mona Singh — mingled with fans across the city, from the Calcutta Book Fair to Funcity, where she met Jassi Pals, or those registered with her official fan club.

“I never thought Calcutta would be so rocking,” beams the girl in trademark glasses, salwar-kameez and braces (her own, which apparently was the role-clincher for the first-time actress). She was “mobbed” by groupies on Wednesday at Emami Landmark and at the book fair.

No wonder she was surprised: The daughter of an army man spent three years in the city as a child, and life couldn’t have been more different for her at the time. Adding fuel to the fan frenzy, she showed off her limited command over Bengali, winning every last one over.

It is easy to be impressed by this pretty girl behind the dowdy look, and her brand managers at Sony would have it no other way. Jassi off screen seems to embody everything Jassi stands for on screen, not in the least, complete dedication to her job. “I am happy to look like this,” insists the Pune-born girl who completed an MBA from Mumbai University before landing the role of a lifetime.

Her family is based in New Zealand and has not met her after the Jassi bomb exploded. “They still don’t know how big it is,” grins Jassi. Her friends, too, were shocked when they met her. “They didn’t know how to react. They said I had become a star.”

She is happy to be the new icon, bringing hope with her “simplicity and innocence” as opposed to the glamour, beauty and appearance young girls grow up with usually.

“Jassi symbolises success despite being beautifully challenged,” feels Albert Almeida, senior vice-president, marketing, Sony Entertainment Television. The decision to not show Jassi before the show launched was to “give people the opportunity to judge her not by looks alone”. Having created a loveable character, there is a concerted effort not to “drop the veil”, even now. But the “novelty value” of not knowing who Jassi really is will wear off, explains Almeida, and the incognito element will eventually cease to be relevant.

That is then. For now, the ploy has worked, as has the unconventional programme content. The bottomline as far as the beam battle goes: the TRPs have risen (Calcutta is known to have touched a peak of 9.2, over the Mumbai high of 8.7 and the 7.8 in Delhi) to be a real threat to the saas-bahu sagas on STAR and the rest.

SOURCE:The Telegraph