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Juggan Kazim: A charmed life

Updated November 02, 2014

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Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar
Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar

From Mehrbano to Juggan

“When I was little I was a complete tomboy. I wasn’t very much of a ‘Mehrbano’. Mehrbano is a real princess kind of a name.

Jugnu Mohsin (editor of The Friday Times and wife of Najam Sethi) is a mutual friend of my mother and Aunt Nasim Zehra. When I was born Nasim khala said I look like a choti jugnu (small firefly) and they started calling me Jugnu. But by the time I was four or five, that name became unbearable for me as it was too feminine.

“I was convinced that I was a boy and something has gone wrong with me which my parents didn’t understand. I would wear a cap, sleeveless top, knickers and try to prove to the world that I am Juggun instead of Jugnu.

“The name Juggun had a Bollywood touch to it. Jagdeesh was a popular name at that time in Bollywood so to add masculinity to my personality I came to be known as Juggun. Baad main kia pata tha kay halak main atak jana hay naam.”


With her large doe eyes and innocent smile, she’s not only drop dead gorgeous but is a woman of many talents — she’s models, acts, hosts and writes a column. Juggan Kazim talks about her life and career in her characteristic self-deprecating manner and with a wit that is hard to match


‘I was convinced I was Amitabh Bachchan.’

Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar
Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar

“Modeling is the only really glamorous part of showbiz, but ultimately you are just a clothes hanger. But the low self-esteem that comes about because of being a hanger is compensated through hosting a morning show.

“By being a part of the morning show circuit I have actually managed to change the perception of people about morning shows. You can have normal conversations that appeal to people without resorting to a shaadi, saas bahu and ‘fight’ week.

“I write for the Tribune and Hilal magazine as well, so for lack of a better term, wahan par thori intellectual tharak poori ho jati ha."

“As far as acting is concerned, I was four when someone asked me what I would like to be after I grow up. I turned and said, ‘Mein barra ho kar actor banu ga’. I was convinced that I was Amitabh Bachchan. How was I to know that a horrible thing like the female body would happen to me? If I have to choose, I’d say I am an actor basically.

Rebellion

Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar
Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar

“My mother didn’t spare any effort to stop me from entering the industry. I was 13 or 14 when Samina Peerzada called my mother Ghazala Sehgal, and said, “Gajoo, I am making a movie and I want Juggun to play a part in that”.

My mother got furious at the thought of a Sehgal getting into films. At that same time there were several rishta offers pouring in and I made it my mission to repel them — I’d spill tea and do weird things to have them run away. My poor mother didn’t know what to do; for her it was a fate worse than death to come into this industry.

She finally allowed me to do commercial theatre when I was 16 and my first theatre drama was "All is Fair in Love and Marriage". But I was only allowed to act if it was a Rafi Peerzada theatre production.”


“By being a part of the morning show circuit I have actually managed to change the perception of people about morning shows. You can have normal conversations that appeal to people without resorting to a shaadi, saas bahu and ‘fight’ week.”


Juggan, the bouncer

Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar
Photography: Tariq Mehmood / WhiteStar

“I received a lot of love at PTV because my father Abbas Kazim used to do a Punjabi show on PTV. Otherwise it was hard for me to get the acceptance from the people in the industry. They felt that I was an ameer baap ki bigrri hui aulad. I stopped taking money from home from the time I was 17.

“To support myself I worked as a janitor and a bouncer who had to frisk girls at a club in Canada. I never got a chance to party in college because I was working or studying.”

‘I talk because I can’t handle the silence’

“My talking is just my social anxiety coming out. I talk because I can’t handle the silence. Anyone who has verbal diarrhea like me tries to hide their complexes.

“Also, I was a non-zero size girl back in the day and I thought if I talk more it’ll help me project my personality and somehow people won’t notice that I’m overweight. In actual fact my weight was normal but as per industry standards I had to lose weight. I used to weigh 63kg and I brought it down to 45kg. This is what the industry does to you: it messes with your head.”

On love and marriage

“When you are younger love is all about butterflies in your stomach, stars in your eyes and the excitement of being with someone but that’s just innocent lust."

“Love is when your husband stays up all night holding your hand because you are in pain. Love is knowing what the other person needs even before they do. We fight and argue. I am very bad tempered but what keeps a marriage going is being a good person and being honest with each other. My husband encourages me to work more and achieve my dreams, who tha na scene: ‘Jaa Simran apni zindagi jee lay.’”

‘I feel people in the industry should go to a psychiatrist at least once a week.’

“I have been seriously committed to therapy for two years. I don’t go for therapy because I am schizophrenic or manic depressive or because I have a psychological problem. In fact I have a minor in psychology which is part of my degree but I go because I feel people in this industry should go to a psychiatrist at least once a week to vent out all that is inside them."

“I tell everyone in the industry to go for therapy just like I go to the gym every day because in this industry you are constantly being analyzed from every angle.”

‘I can be a director’s actor’

“I’m ready to go back to the movies. As an actor I’m fairly fluid. I can be a director’s actor given the right environment. I am the kind of artist that needs room to grow. Main pyar ka bhooka artist hun.”

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, November 2nd, 2014