Madhuri Mania
Get more than just a jhalak of vintage Madhuri Dixit as she flies back to Denver after an eventful winter in amchi Mumbai

Naach Gaana

Madhuri Dixit judges Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Season 4
“I found acting and dancing far easier than judging!”

After wrapping up this season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, Madhuri gave her special throaty laugh and remarked, “It was a tough job for all three of us – Malaika, Remo and me – to judge the participants in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa.

I took into account factors like personality, body language, confidence level and experience.

Expression is essential too, since just technique without expression is one-dimensional. Honestly, I found acting and dancing far easier than judging!”

“All three of us judges felt that Krishna Abhishek should have been in the Top 5!”

As for the gymnastics that has crept into dancing, her swift reply was, “When you have dance forms like jazz, samba and jive, gymnastics is a must.”

A skilled kathak dancer, Madhuri could never bring herself to be a hardnosed judge as she was wistful whenever a contestant was shown the door. “But since it was a competition, some had to be eliminated,” she accepted.

“The eliminations were always a surprise for each one of us. All three of us judges felt that Krishna Abhishek should have been in the Top 5.

But elimination was an unpredictable process since it was not just what we thought about the participants but their popularity with the viewers which also counted a hell of a lot. Especially since among the participants there were several TV stars, sports personalities, etc.”

“I’d like to call Rani Mukerjee home because I know she will do half the cooking!”

Ms Nene was admired since she projected the right attitude and was never rude or condescending, mainly because she said she was aware of the tough preparations involved. “If people spend time and energy rehearsing till 4 am after shooting the whole day, I respect them and must be patient with them.”

More than anything else, this show was particularly free of staged dramas and TRP-driven fights. And Mads was grateful that the channel gave the judges a free hand to do their job.

“Whatever we did on the show was 100 per cent genuine and nothing was prearranged. All three of us had differences of opinion at times over different participants but that didn’t mean we had to have a big fight!”


Madhuri Dixit at Imran's Wedding
While in town, Madhuri also became the lifestyle ambassador for Sanjeev Kapoor’s channel Food Food. “I was very thrilled when Sanjeev Kapoor approached me because my husband, my parents, my in-laws, all of us are foodies.

“I was very impressed with my husband when we got married because he could cook better than me! Naach-gaana and khaana are all part of the Indian lifestyle. I have lots of cookery books at home and I still refer to them when I cook.”

“When we got married my husband could cook better than me!”

Madhuri savours the Maharashtrian dish kaande pohe but makes chicken tikka masala too, since her husband loves it. And he freaks out on Punjabi food. Madhuri laughed as she recalled the first time she tried to make prawns for Dr Nene. “I didn’t know that prawns should not be cooked beyond a certain point.

When I served them to my husband, he said it was very good but when I tasted a bit of it myself, I realized it was like chewing gum!”

Her wish-list: She’d love to call Shah Rukh Khan home when she cooks because even if the food turned out bad, she was sure he’d be gracious enough to say it was very good.

“I’d also like to call Rani Mukerjee home because we got along very well and I know she will do half the cooking! Director Partho Ghosh’s wife is also a very good cook. When I was acting in 100 Days, she used to bring a lot of Bengali dishes to the sets.”

Madhuri’s heart goes dhak dhak for Hritikh
Pandit Birju Maharaj, even today. “He is the ultimate kathak dancer in our country today. However, my favourite dancer in films is Vyjayanthimala, whose dances have always mesmerized me. Helen is another of my hot favourites, especially since she had an inimitable style of her own. Way back in the 60s, actors had more of style and less of dancing technique.

I liked Shammi Kapoor’s style of dancing, though he was not a dancer actually. The reason we tend to remember the dances of Rishi Kapoor even today is because he used to pick up the smallest of beats even in a qawwali. Among the dancers of today, I would definitely say that Hrithik Roshan is poetry when he dances since he has an amazing style of his own.”

Cricket and the World Cup: “My all-time favourite among cricketers has always been Sunil Gavaskar, since I was a tiny tot. These days my favourite is Sachin Tendulkar.”

See you next year

Madhuri is happy that filmmaking has undergone a radical change now. “It is gratifying to note that a lot of corporates are making films in a period of three months. There was a time when we used to work in films which went on for two to three years.

I am ready to work in films and would love to work in a Marathi film, since it is my mother tongue.”

The former top star in Bollywood didn’t deny that she turned down Anil Kapoor’s offer to cast her in the Hindi remake of Freaky Friday (in the role Jamie Lee Curtis carried off with such panache), not because she was required to play Sonam’s mother but because she did not like the role.

“I am a mum in real life and if the role is good, I’m game to do it, whether I am required to play a father or a mother!” she laughed.

“I was very thrilled when Sanjeev Kapoor approached me because my husband, my parents, my in-laws, all of us are foodies!”

What did she think of ‘size zero’? Madhuri shot back, “I know only medium, large and small sizes!”

The former dhak-dhak gal sprang a bit of a surprise when she mentioned that her sons liked watching her dance whenever they saw any of her old films on TV, but otherwise they have not shown any inclination towards dancing till now.

She also confirmed that talks are on with the Sony guys for the next season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. “I have enjoyed every moment of my stint with the show. I have had a good experience and would love to come back next season as one of the judges!”

As for films, with her asking price of `5 crore (higher than Kareena or Katrina!) either there’s going to be a long wait or a big climbdown by her before we see Madhuri and her mega watt smile on the big screen again!

  Jyothi Venkatesh for Film Street Journal

Leave a Reply.