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
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
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
“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.