Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin” — India (2003) Synopsis | Trivia | Cast
Mona Singh and Apurva Agnihotri
On September 1, 2003, the international “Betty” phenomenon spread to India with the debut of “Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin” (There’s No One Like Jassi). The series aired on the SET network (Sony Entertainment Television) from 9:30 to 10:00pm, Monday through Thursday, and starred Mona Singh—who had to keep her real identity secret for almost two years—as Jasmeet ‘Jassi’ Walia and Apurva Agnihotri as Armaan Suri. Jassi worked for Armaan at a fashion house, Gulmohur, in Mumbai. This show was so popular that it stayed on the air for over two and a half years. The final episode of “Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin”, a retrospective, aired on May 4, 2006.
As with Betty in “Yo soy Betty, la fea,” Jassi constantly faced the scorn of the “pretty” people that she encountered in the workplace. Eventually she won the hearts of those around her, including her handsome boss, Armaan. The popularity of “Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin” even got the show’s heroine the honor of being featured on a postage stamp.
Bright, intelligent, and the pride of her middle-class Punjabi parents, Jasmeet “Jassi” Walia dreams of making her mark one day with a successful career. But in a society where looks form first impressions, Jassi faces a string of rejections and the impossible task of landing a job, despite her academic brilliance.
One day she discovers that the country’s leading fashion house, Gulmohur, has a vacancy for a secretary, a job that happens to be way below her qualifications. Yet, with the conviction to prove her worth, Jassi applies for the job. The new chairman of Gulmohur is the handsome, young, and debonair Armaan Suri, who has vowed to turn the company’s fortunes around within a year. His rich and beautiful fiancée Mallika is part owner of Gulmohur and it was her deciding vote that got Armaan elected to his job as chairman of the firm, over her own brother, Aryan, who also vied for the position. The insanely possessive Mallika, suspecting that Armaan has been using her just for her support with the company’s board of directors, plots to plant her friend Pari as Armaan’s secretary, primarily to keep an eye on his flirtatious behavior.
When Jassi turns up at Gulmohur for an interview, the glamour and glitz of the fashion world hit her. Beautiful people, condescending attitudes, and high society snobbery make her uncomfortable and more awkward than usual. Determined to get this job, she goes in for the interview and is pitted against Pari, who has looks and panache, but absolutely no qualifications for the job. Jassi is dejected when the job goes to Pari, but little does she know that fate is on her side. Knowing that he needs a competent support system in order to succeed with his business goals, Armaan doesn’t want the unqualified Pari to be his assitant and he is curious about the girl with brilliant qualifications who was rejected by his staff due to her looks. Jassi is amazed when she receives a call asking her for a meeting with Armaan Suri himself the very next day.
As expected, Armaan is shocked when he sees the face of the girl with the brilliant credentials. Mallika dismisses poor Jassi as an eyesore and declares that Pari fits the bill perfectly, but Armaan is impressed with Jassi’s qualifications, so he hires her as his secretary. He compromises with Mallika by also hiring Pari. Therefore, Pari is stationed out in front of Armaan’s office, while Jassi is relegated to a small storage closet that is accessed from within Armaan’s office. At home, Jassi’s parents, Billu and Amrit, and her grandmother, Bebe, are thrilled that she has finally found a job, but they are unaware of how she has settled for a job that is much below her abilities.
Jassi is determined to prove her value to Armaan and to rise within the company based on her merits. It is a busy time at Gulmohur because the company is gearing up for its first fashion show since Armaan’s appointment as chairman. Unfortunately, Jassi commits a huge blunder at the fashion show and Armaan fires her. The next day, though, he tells her that he will give her another chance, and she quickly finds herself in a position to help him out of a sticky situation. Armaan’s ex-girlfriend Kareena Modi (Sandhya Shetty), a model, comes to Gulmohur, so Armaan needs Jassi to run interference to keep Mallika from discovering that the irrational Kareena is on the premises.
Mallika tries to get information about Kareena out of Jassi, but Jassi doesn’t cooperate, so Mallika fires her for insubordination. Armaan then reverses the dismissal and reinstates Jassi, infuriating Mallika, who feels that he has undermined her authority. Armaan is very pleased by how Jassi has handled the Kareena situation, so he tells her that he really needs her. Jassi is filled with joy knowing that such a dynamic and powerful young man has come to rely on her.
A bully in Jassi’s neighborhood, Raman, has arranged for her to go on a date with one of his friends. Not knowing that Raman is just pulling a prank on her, Jassi looks forward to the movie date. Her best friend Nandu tries to warn her that Raman must have an ulterior motive, but she dismisses his reservations and she asks Billu for his permission for her to go out. Billu suspects that something is up, so he refuses to allow Jassi to go on the date, but Amrit and Bebe manage to convince him to let her go. Unfortunately for Jassi, it turns out that Nandu and Billu were right about those neighborhood thugs. They only wanted to humiliate Jassi, so she decides that love is not meant for her, and her work will now be her sole focus in life.
Armaan entrusts Jassi with putting together an important presentation for an upcoming board meeting. At the same time, he and his best friend Raj, the company’s Marketing Directory, try to train Jassi to handle the various women in their lives. Pari decides to steal the report that Jassi is preparing for the board, so she can present it as her own work. After Pari hijacks Jassi’s diligent presentation, Jassi is distraught and leaves the boardroom and goes to the cafeteria to seek support from her new friends, a group of secretaries who refer to themselves as “the clan” or “the gang”.
Jassi later confronts Pari, but Mallika steps in and threatens Jassi with dire consequences if she complains to Armaan. Jassi is upset, but she decides to get even with Pari. Armaan confronts Jassi about the report, but all she tells him is that he will know the truth once Pari attempts to make a business plan for him. Certain that Pari will be incapable of doing the job, Jassi rushes home to work on her own business plan. When Jassi gets home, though, Amrit has other plans for her. She takes Jassi to meet a boy whose family is trying to arrange a marriage between them, but the whole thing has a disastrous ending. Jassi and Amrit have an altercation during which Jassi confesses that she is a mere secretary and not an executive assistant, as she had been leading her parents to believe. Amrit tells Jassi that she should tell Billu before he finds out the truth some other way.
Jassi credits Babaji for helping her to overcome all of the obstacles she has faced throughout her life. That night, Jassi and Armaan tell Vedika a bedtime story about a princess who used to wear glasses and braces, and a prince swept her off her feet, and now she is the most beautiful woman on Earth. Vedika wants to know the princess’s name, and Armaan says, “Jassi.” The next day at the office, Ruby Mom says that Armaan’s new secretary has arrived. Armaan says that he hasn’t hired a secretary, but then Vedika enters, disguised as the old Jassi, glasses, braces, and all.