Reminiscing: Jameela Mulki’s Story


“I had a wonderful childhood, a very struggling married life, but today I am a very happy person. I feel till we are here in this world, one has to keep learning whatever one is interested in and enjoy life,” writes our reader, Jameela as she recounts a life well – lived…

Hello friends, I am Jameela Mulki, commonly called Jayalakshmi, here, I share my life journey…

My childhood was very good, my parents encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do.  We were a broad-minded family. 

My brother retired as Professor of Botany from National College Basawangudi, Bangalore. He was known as N.M. in short. Name being Narayanan Mohan. He always used to accompany for shoots, I never used to go alone.  

I had to suddenly get married in 1978 as my father suffered a heart attack. My marriage was so unplanned, my husband who was my fan, had come home that day and proposed. After some talk, my father agreed, and my marriage took place, within a year my father passed away.  

I am a regular viewer of Seniors Have Talent. I feel so happy to see all seniors so passionate about singing, all sing well. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about taking part, feeling good about it and moving forward. 


A little bit about me

I was born as Jayalakshmi in a Hindu family. My father served the Indian Airforce; thus, our family was always travelling. Ours was a small family, My parents my elder brother and me.

We travelled all over India, studied in Central schools, which is now Kendriya Vidyalaya. In the defence services there is no Language, caste or creed difference, the motto in the Defence being – we are all one, we are Indians. In school I had lot of Muslim, Christian friends too. I was an all – rounder. Good in dancing, singing, sports, studies too. 

I got selected into the Poona film Institute in 1970, with the Gurudutt Scholarship, Rs 150 monthly, which was a good amount then. Shabana Azmi, Zareena Wahab, Kishore Namit Kapoor, all were some of my colleagues there. Jaya Bahaduri had already passed out. I got offers from Rajshree productions etc in the role of a heroine, even Atma Ram ji wanted me to act in his productions, but by then I got offers from Kannada movies as heroine so my father told me that would be better, as we were based in Bangalore.  (Will share my photo of those times.)


Marriage brought about changes…

After becoming Jameela, life really changed for me, though mentally I was feeling the same and still I am the same except that my singing, dancing acting other activities had to stop since my husband was not for it. So, I listened to him and my two were born. Everybody knows after being a Mother the whole concentration goes in bringing up children. I only had to do that with the help of my mother since my husband visited me for short trips as his work was in Saudi Arabia. Financially he only gave, whatever basic requirements. Other extra my mother supported. But after Kuwait war in early 1990’s my husband’s work went downhill, and lot of loss took place whilst my children were still studying.

The sites (properties), which we had, one by one my husband sold. Somehow, he would never take my suggestions or advice. I just had to listen. Even our own house which we had was sold, since liquid money was required for living, the money got from the sold house also went down the drain, as my husband blindly believed people. If I told him anything, big fights would occur, and the children’s studies would suffer so I used to keep quiet. 


Going back to acting 

When everything was at a total loss, he told me to start acting. But this was not easy. I had crossed my forties. In Showbiz it’s all about glamour and youth. At one point people used to come and contact me with offers. But now I had to go in search. Everything had changed. There was already a gap of over18 years. Out of sight is out of mind in films. After contacting people for two years, in 1999 I got a Nimbus production, a Kannada serial – Neethi Chakra.  I also did a Hindi serial Tumba Rucha – teaching children moral stories, for National DD, shot in Bangalore.

From then on there was no looking back for me. By the Grace of God till this lockdown happened in 2019, I did lot of Kannada serials and Kannada movies as a mother and now as a grandmother. Since last year, I am mostly at home. But I have been engaged with lot of activities. In between I started learning Carnatic music. I did my junior and last year finished my seniors in Carnatic music with a first class. 


And singing…

I participated in Seniors have Talent as Jameela Mulki. I am very passionate about singing dancing acting etc and I always count my blessings. I was one of the winners of Seniors Have Talent Season one. Today by God’s Grace, I am very happy.


My lovely sons

I keep doing something or the other. Lot of offers still come my way, but my two sons tell me it’s not time yet. There is still a risk especially with shoots. My elder son is married to lovely Muslim girl, and they have a beautiful daughter. My younger son is a writer and film maker, his work can be seen in Faraway Originals. He is yet to be married. There is no time for marriage he says!

For me, all religions are same. Every religion teaches Good. I am a real- life Grandma now. I am blessed to have two lovely, loving and caring boys from my marriage. They will do anything for me, plus, they always encourage me, and they say life is all about being happy, which I am. Touchwood.

My husband passed away in 2012, of a heart attack.

This is my life journey till my 65 years and ongoing. Concluding my story, I can say, I had a wonderful childhood, a very struggling married life and now a days, I am a very happy person.  In those struggling days also, I kept myself happy as I was busy looking after my children’s needs. 

I feel till life is there one has to keep learning whatever one is interested in and enjoy life. Take care friends and Be Happy!

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