New Delhi, Sep 30, Her shortcoming has become her biggest asset. Juhi Aslam, ridiculed for being much shorter than most people, says she has a real life connect with the new TV show “Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo” in which she plays the protagonist.
At the age of 19, Juhi, who stands 3.5 feet tall, brings forth the heartache, humiliation and struggle that people like her suffer through the show that began on Imagine TV last week.
“The character Bharti that I am playing in the show is similar to what I am living every day. It is a real life story of every dwarf. And I find an emotional connect with the script,” Juhi told IANS in an interview on phone from Mumbai.
Juhi, who hails from Uttar Pradesh and is a final year B.Sc student, says her short height is a hereditary problem.
“In my case, my grandfather, my father and now me – we all suffer from dwarfism. But my mother is not like us.”
Subjected to discrimination because of aberrant height, she has often been bullied. “We people are looked down upon with nasty smiles as if we belong to some other planet. Walking on the streets is not easy as people taunt every now and then.
“During school it didn’t get notice much because it was our growing years, but now in college it is noticeable. Mostly guys tease. Even girls look at me as if they don’t recognise me.”
But Juhi’s height has become a blessing for her – it has helped her get the lead role in “Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo”.
“I’ve reached this level, bagged this role only because of my height and I am very happy. I never thought something like this could happen to me. What I thought was my drawback is my biggest strength today.
“The first time I faced the camera I was very nervous. As I am an amateur and have no prior acting experience, it was a completely new area for me to venture in.”
Juhi has an interesting story about how she got the role.
“It came as a big surprise and in a very funny package. I was outside my college when some people approached me. That time I felt they were just making fun of me probably. But then they met my parents and convinced them and assured them that it was not a joke and they really wanted me to audition for the role.
“I had never thought an opportunity like this would ever come my way and I would be able to improve our living condition. This is the biggest platform which I could have ever got. I will try to give my best.”
With the show, Juhi wants to change the outlook of people about dwarfs.
“The show itself has taken a step forward by not making fun of people like us but by showing our side of the story. Our abnormality has always been shown on the screen with a humour element attached to it. But now it’s time to show the inside story of a dwarf.”
In the show, Juhi’s parents are very rich but they are unable to find a suitable guy for their daughter. She is rejected because of her height.
“I hope the problem we are depicting will open the eyes of the masses. And they won’t look at us with the same perception. And I hope my family will not have to face the same problem,” she said.
Juhi says the show is also for other physically challenged people.
“My attempt is to inspire not only dwarfs but every individual who is facing any kind of physical challenge. They should not lose hope and sit back. It does hurt a lot, but sulking won’t help. Though I’m very short-tempered, I try to control my anger on many occasions. But once I got so frustrated that I slapped a guy who was teasing me,” said Juhi.
With her career in place, she wants to complete her education.
“I will do the show and complete my studies simultaneously. Even my principal had granted me permission to attend my exams without attending college. So why not grab the chance!”