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I met Jasmeet 'Jassi' Walia for the first time almost a year ago. I still remember how I caught her unawares on the sets in Madh Island, in suburban Mumbai.

She was resting on a chair after a shot. The braces and spectacles were missing. The beautiful Mona Singh behind the 'ugly' facade of Jassi was visible, albeit for a few seconds. The moment she realised she was being noticed, the braces and glasses were back. Sony Television's PR army surrounded her within seconds to ensure that Mona Singh did not peek out behind Jassi.

A year down the line, a lot has changed. This time, the channel invited the media to take a look at the real Jassi, aka Jessica Bedi (she's changed her name as well with the image makeover!)

The braces are gone, and the spectacles have given way to contact lenses. Most striking, also, is the change in the way India's most popular secretary has started dressing. The frumpy salwar suit has vanished, to be replaced by an appropriately 'modern' smart white shirt-black trousers ensemble.

But what has not changed is the 'mystery' surrounding her name. Even today, perhaps due to contractual obligations, she refuses to admit that she is Mona Singh. Ask her who she is, and she replies with a smile, "I am Jessica Bedi formerly known as Jasmeet Walia, born on October 8, 1978. Who is Mona Singh?"

But why the makeover? The punch-line Sony promoted when Jassi was launched read: Secretary mein shakal se zaada akal ki zaroorat hai. (A secretary needs brains more than looks.) Are they going back on their word?

"The story had reached a stage where a change was necessary. This drastic change was due to the script and channel's demands. Frankly, I was scared about how to carry my new look. I had gotten used to the Jassi look. But, at the same time, I was confident the audience would like my new look," says Jassi.

Don't Miss: Pick your favourite Jassi

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Text: Srabanti Chakrabarti | Design: Uday Kuckian



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