Madhuri Mania

A LIFE In Beauty

Superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan have on record been vying to work with her. Star actresses Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra and Vidya Balan can be heard singing her praises from myriad platforms.

Rani Mukherjee even fell prostrate at her feet on a reality show in full public view to prove that she is her “biggest self-declared fan.” She is the wish list for many directors – veteran and debuting. Trade pundits celebrate her as the industry’s last diva heroine, who enjoyed an undisputed reign at the top through the 1990s concluding an illustrious line of Bollywood’s most successful box-office queens and Numero Uno actresses Sridevi (80s), Hema Malini (70s), Vyjayanthimala Bali (60s) and Nargis (50s).

Eight years since her marriage and relocation to the USA and four years after her last released film, Aaja Nachle, Madhuri Dixit’s every visit to India still is a headline grabbing event. In the year gone by, when every major Bollywood biggie tested their charm on reality TV to mixed reviews, her presence on dance show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa not only got the four seasons old show its highest TRPs (Television Rating Points) ever but also made it 2010’s second most popular reality TV event after Amitabh Bachchan’s latest coming on Kaun Banega Crorepati.

Her fan attract on the sets of the reality show is to be seen to be believed. In Bollywood’s current season of stars studded award events, her mere presence generates a hysteria matched only by the biggest superstars of the day. That famed indulgently dished smile of course still makes a million hearts go aflutter.

It flashes aplenty again, as I conduct my marathon interview with Madhuri Dixit at one of Mumbai’s haute five star destinations, amidst many a curious gaze. Many for sure had turned a shade greener. Even the most suave high flyers couldn’t resist the temptation to stand and stare, with some of the smitten brave hearts even walking up to her to just share a ‘Hi.’ A Russian actor staying in the hotel nervously interrupts to just to tell dame Dixit that she is one of the most popular actresses in his country. Madhuri acknowledges with a liberal flash of that enchanting smile, and even bids ‘goodbye’ in Russian. His day for sure is made! Being a global citizen for nearly a decade now has definitely expanded Madhuri Dixit’s world view. An accent subconsciously seeps in occasionally, especially when she’s talking about her life in the USA. At heart however, she very much remains the middle class Mumbai girl-next-door who made it big and how.

Madhuri Dixit is as rooted as any superstar cannot be. Humble to the point of self depreciating, the actress in her most free wheeling interview in years, talks on the highs and lows, the controversies and crowning glories, and of course the dances and the acts that have contributed to the everlasting attract of the Madhuri magic. She reflects on her learnings from her favourite directors and reveals why Shah Rukh, Aamir and Anil Kapoor remain her fondest co-stars for all seasons. She clears the dust on her alleged professional rivalry with Sridevi and a much speculated affair with Sanjay Dutt. She defends her decision to do Hindi cinema’s most controversial song ever – Choli ke peeche and reveals the compulsions behind that embarrassing kiss on-screen in Dayavan.

Candid, true and straight from the heart, as the dancing diva reflects on living, learning and loving life in its every moment, one realises why hers has been a life in beauty that becomes a joy forever for anyone touched by its presence. Read on the definitive Madhuri Dixit interview spanning and celebrating her 25 glorious years in Hindi cinema.

A Madhuri Dixit trip to India still makes for big Bollywood news, eight years after you relocated to the USA (post marriage). What do you think could be the secret of this everlasting attraction?
I think it reflects a lot on the kind of career I have had, the kind of person I have been and my professionalism at work. Perhaps I was a pleasure to work with because of which the industry still remembers me with a lot of respect. Of course, it’s always a great feeling to be wanted and complimented.

You are back in your longest professional stint post marriage as a judge in Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. What convincing did the show organisers do to make you agree for your second TV coming since your debut TV host act in one of India’s first-ever reality shows, Shubh Vivaah (2001) hadn’t been a success?
The organisers of Jhalak… had been chasing me for two years to do it, but I wasn’t very convinced initially. So this time they insisted on taking extra efforts to make it look better. They took me to the sets of its original concept show Dancing With The Stars in Los Angeles and said, ‘This is what we want to attain and this is where we want to get to.’ I was quite impressed by the show and promptly agreed; as I was assured that it would be a lot of fun. Shubh Vivaah was way ahead of its times when it was launched. Nobody then accepted reality shows as they do them today. Many even thought that we shouldn’t have done it, wondering ‘How could someone marry on TV?’ They thought it was too private an event to show on TV. Had the show started today, I am sure it would have enjoyed a different outcome.

Given the overwhelming response to your comeback and the many speculative reports about the who’s who of the industry wanting to cast or work with you, are any films also in the pipeline?
Right now, I am happy in my space. There have been offers, but I am waiting for something exciting to come my way. I don’t want to do anything just for the heck of it. It doesn’t matter if my film is a success or a failure, but I want to do something that I will enjoy doing and find exciting to be a part of and I am ready to wait until I find that kind of an offer.

Guess playing Sonam Kapoor’s mother isn’t definitely the most exciting proposition! Is that why you rejected Anil Kapoor’s next home production which is a remake of Freaky Friday? Which other industry biggies have approached you for their projects?
Yes, I got a lot of feedback on Twitter saying, ‘We don’t want to see you play anyone’s mother…’ There were a lot of ‘No’s’ with many screaming N’s in it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mother’s role. But it has to be something that’s fun to do. There have been a few offers coming, but I don’t want to sound like dropping names, saying so and so came… Only when I am kicked about something I want to do, I will let the world know about it. I am still reading scripts.

So what exactly in a film offer could get you excited enough to say ‘yes’?
It should be entertaining, have a message and be different from what I have done so far. I don’t mind if its maker is new or debuting. My only consideration is what new thing will I be bringing to my fans and will I enjoy doing it?

The trade calls you Bollywood’s last Numero Uno female superstar. No leading actress after you has enjoyed an undisputed reign at the top as long as you. Why do you think so?
I don’t know if people are saying these things to make it difficult for the heroines reigning today. It’s an old industry habit to say, ‘Ya, you are good, but you are not as good…’ Such comparisons used to happen in my time too. I think Indian commercial cinema demands a full package from an actress – you have to know how to dance well, act well, conduct yourself well… – it’s a long list of requirements. If you have all these characteristics, then you are hailed as the ideal one! But I don’t believe that’s true anymore; cinema is changing. Also there are so many distractions for the audience today in terms of channels, soaps, etc. Films no longer are the only form of entertainment or route to stardom. So it’s going to get tougher for the new film stars as time passes by.

But don’t you think their being accessible from every possible media platform today does dent their stardom in a way. You weren’t known to be a very media savvy star in your heydays?
Today you have to be on Twitter, Facebook, everywhere… You have to make a louder noise to be heard above the din being created by others. But that’s a personal choice. I cannot do that. As a person, I am quite understated. Even while I was working, I always did my job and went home. I have always been like that. But again there are no set rules as to what works for whom in the entertainment business.

Though your last release Aaja Nachle (2007) didn’t perform well at the box-office, it’s quite popular on the home video circuit and its dances are still performed to applause. Do you think its non-existent romantic track affected its box-office appeal?
Not exactly, in hindsight you can diagnose so many things. But once something’s happened, it’s happened! It’s hard to say what didn’t work, or what worked. I have been long enough in this business to know there’s no sense in post-mortem. If you say it didn’t work because of the lack of a romantic track, then what about the many films without romantic tracks that have done so well. The film’s fairing has to be seen in totality and who really knows what didn’t work because as you said the film is still popular on the DVD circuit.

In a male dominated industry you are the only actress to have acted as a heroine opposite two generations of stars (father-son: Vinod Khanna-Akshaye Khanna)… It sure must have been a great boost to your ego?
I have no ego. I would rather see it as my acceptance by a range of audience from kids to the older generation. As an actor, it gives me the confidence to play a wider range of parts because of this assurance of popularity across various age groups.

Pamela Anderson tried to match steps with your ‘Dhak dhak…’ song in Bigg Boss 4. What did you think of it?
I completely missed that act, though I have been hearing a lot about it. By the time I came to India, she had already gone out of Big Boss.

Madhuri Dixit & Saroj Khan
Which of your popular dance numbers are your personal favourites?
Everyone knows the popular ones, so I would like to mention those that didn’t become popular but were still as good. There was this song called Tut gayi tadak karke… in my second film with N. Chandra. The songs Loye loye aaja aaja mahi and Jaane woh kaisa chor tha dupatta chura gaya… from Yaarana and all the songs of Sangeet.

In a way, with ‘Ek do teen…’ you became the first lead actress to make doing item songs look cool for a heroine.
I don’t know why people think of it as an item song. It was a staged song shot in a very lavish way, the likes of which the audience was perhaps seeing after a certain time gap on-screen. But such songs were always there in our older movies. As regards my being associated with that song, in Bollywood every heroine has had a song that she is remembered by and that’s the way Hindi films work. For instance if you think of Vyjayanthimala, you remember Hothon pe aisi baat (Jewel Thief), just as you recall the song Aaja aaja main hun pyar tera (Teesri Manzil) when you talk about Asha Parekh…

Since you mentioned those veteran dancing stars, which have been your favourite dance songs by other actresses?
I used to love the dancing of Waheedaji and Vyjayanthimalaji. Every dance in Amrapali or for that matter any dance by Vyjayanthimalaji is a favourite. My other favourite dance songs include Waheedaji’s Mose chal kiye jaaye (Guide) and one of Hema Malini’s songs called Yeh hai time time ki baat. It’s not a very popular song but she had danced very well in it.

Some of your popular dances did negotiate that thin  line between aesthetics and obscenity. How did you tackle that?
I was very lucky that whatever sensuous songs I did on-screen were done by Sarojji. Saroj Khan has a very good aesthetics sense and being a woman herself, she understands what could look bad or present a dancer in bad taste. Her choreography took note of everything like where the camera was being put, what angle a particular movement was being shot at and the likes. We never made any of our dances look anything but sensuous or beautiful.

Didn’t the lyrics of Choli ke peeche… ever bother you while doing the song?
The song bothered a few people when they heard it because of its lyrics, but the visuals and its choreography were completely different from what the lyrics suggested. So doing it didn’t bother me at all.

You were one of the first heroines of your generation to do a kissing scene in Dayavan. Do you regret it?
Well, when I look back, I think I should have just said, ‘No, I don’t want to do it.’ But then perhaps I got a bit intimidated to doing it. It was like, I am an actress and the director has conceived the scene in a particular way so maybe my not doing it would hamper the narrative. Also since I was not from a film family background I didn’t know anything about the industry and its operative norms. I didn’t know at that time that you could say no to do kissing scenes. So I did it. But later when I saw the film, I wondered why did I do it? The kiss didn’t add anything to the film. So I decided to put my foot down on doing any more kissing scenes and never did another again.

You are one of the last Bollywood heroines to be classically trained. Do you think a lack of classical training has robbed the appeal of the bhavas (expressions) and adas (gestures)  in the dances of current actresses?
I would rather put it the other way round that because I was classically trained it helped me in bringing in all those bhavas into my songs as one has to understand what one is emoting while dancing. Also it is equally important for a choreographer to be aware of the bhavas and the Navarasas to be able to achieve them in a dance performance. Luckily, for me Sarojji was very good with expressions and she understood the classical form just as well as she did the folk or the modern. Hence ours emerged to be a great combination. I wish there were more classically trained choreographers today. But then contemporary choreographers like Remo, who is a co-judge with me on Jhalak… is also knowledgeable about other Indian dance forms. He has learnt folk forms like Chhau along with Hip Hop, which is his forte. So is Prabhudeva, who is famous for his modern styles of dancing. When I did Qey sera sera (Pukar) with him, I realised that though he wasn’t classically trained, he knew folk dance and the importance of expressions in a dance… So there still are choreographers one can be hopeful about. But I wish that more such songs, which utilized those aesthetic attributes, got written today. 

Today, every actress looks up to you and talks about you very fondly. But it’s also a fact that no two actresses in the same league can be friends. Do you agree?
I never got to experience those vibes with my female colleagues. I used to just do my work and go home. So I never really formed any long lasting industry friendships like the type where you are talking to your colleagues on the phone everyday. What I formed with people is a genuine bond of genuine fondness and respect. I am very fond of the actresses I had worked with and there always was genuine respect. I gave respect so I got respect.

Apparently you shared a famous professional rivalry with your preceding reigning queen Sridevi.
Well, all that was more created than us having any rivalry because by the time I did Ek do teen… we were both very busy in our respective careers. She was busy with her work and I with mine; so we never came to doing any movie together. Perhaps that fuelled those notions of rivalry, but there was never any rivalry between us.

But you weren’t the best of friends either.
I am not on buddy terms with anyone in the industry. I have more friends outside the industry than within. But whenever I meet anyone there is genuine fondness, there is genuine respect and we pick up from where we had left. With Sridevi too, whenever we met, we respected each other and still have a fondness for each other.

Were no projects ever planned with the two of you together?
There was one movie which got stuck for the longest time. I don’t even remember its name. It’s one project for which we were together but it was stuck forever. I think Ramesh Sippy was its director and it also had Vinod Khanna and Sanjay Dutt in it. It was a multi-starrer planned sometime in the early 90s.

And in your two heroine projects the other actress was always much junior (Dil To… Devdas). Did your diva status intimidate your contemporary actresses from sharing space with you?
That you have to ask them, I can’t answer for others. Fact is that I did very few multi-heroine films in my career.

You arrived with a bang in Tezaab. But not many remember that before Tezaab you had done eight other films spanning over four years (Abodh, Awara Baap, Swati, Zameen, Mohre, Hifaazat, Uttar Dakshin, Khatron Ke Khiladi, and Dayavan). What was that phase like?
It was a very busy phase. I was doing two shifts a day, going from one studio to another. Obviously, everybody works for success, so if one film didn’t work it meant I had to work harder in my next. Working harder and harder was my only concern in those days.

Did you ever think of quitting films?
No, not really, because my family was always with me and my mom gave me ample moral support. She would always say, ‘Don’t worry about the failures. Just do your job sincerely and if you do it meaning well, things will happen.’ 

Any experience from the shooting of your first film Abodh that has still stayed with you?
Lots of things bring a smile on my face when I watch the movie even today. I just laugh at my self sometimes, and wonder, ‘Oh, I was so naïve.’ I knew nothing about acting. Abodh was a learning experience for me. I was just 16 and not so serious about a career in films, or for that matter any career. I had never grown up dreaming to be an actress. The film just happened. But once I did it, I got interested in my work and started liking the processes of my craft like acting, dancing, singing, etc. That’s when I decided that this is what I want to do for a career.

Professionally, what was the most significant change for you post Tezaab?
Significantly, people started knowing me from Tezaab. I started getting offered good roles because beyond Ek do teen… my role in the film too was very good. It had a lot of dramatic scenes and people finally thought that I could act.

In terms of recognition and unleashing of the Madhuri mania, which of your early hits Tezaab, Dil or Saajan played a bigger role?
I think its never just one movie. Every movie is a stepping stone. So these were like the first, second and third steps… Tezaab got me my first best actress nomination. Dil, which came in between got me my first best actress award (Filmfare). As regards Saajan, a lot of my well wishers had dissuaded me from signing it arguing, ‘They are taking an action hero like Sanjay in the role of a crippled man. Your film is going against his image. God only knows what will happen to it.’ But I still did it as I personally believed in the working of the project. It became a huge hit and Sanjay was acclaimed in a different role. For me, it lived up to the promise of Tezaab and Dil in a relatively stronger acting part with more hit songs that got me the attention of a diverse cross-section of audience.

The success of Saajan also fueled notions of you and Sanjay Dutt being a pair off-screen.
Well, I don’t know what fuels people’s imaginations. I can’t talk about what others are feeling or thinking in their heads? We just happened to do many movies simultaneously like Khalnayak and Thanedaar that perhaps kept the rumour mills abuzz. It’s not like today where people do just one film at a time. Sometimes we used to do seven films at a time, while at other times some films used to take seven years to make.

Are you in touch with Sanjay Dutt still?
No, I am not in touch with anybody on a level where I pick up the phone and call people to ask, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’

Coming to your other early memorable pairing opposite Anil Kapoor, did he influence your choices in the early phase of your career by recommending you as his heroine in the many films that you did opposite him post Tezaab?
No, the movies that I did with him were completely of my own choice. They were the movies that I really wanted to do.

Looking back, which of your co-stars/heroes did you enjoy the most working with?
Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Anil Kapoor – we shared
a great rapport and did some really good films that we enjoyed doing.

Madhuri Dixit & Shahrurkh in Gajagamini
With whom do you think you enjoyed the best on-screen chemistry?
I don’t know. Aap critics log bahut sochte hain (You critics think so much about it…). With Anilji it was always about playing different shades of our hit characters in Tezaab – Munna and Mohini. Our on-screen chemistry was always very intense and dramatic. With Aamir our on-screen equations were high on nok-jhonk in films like Dil and Deewana Mujhsa Nahin. With Shah Rukh, I think my on-screen chemistry kept evolving a lot and hence it could be called the most challenging. This was also because of the sheer variety of films we did. For instance, in Anjaam and Koyla we were either dirty and running around or killing each other. Those days we used to often discuss that ‘We should do at least one film that’s nice, romantic and saaf-suthra, where we are neatly dressed, are looking good and in the best of our behavior towards each other.’ And then came Dil To Pagal Hai, which we really had a blast doing.

The film also has one of the most magical romantic moments in Hindi cinema to date – the ‘Aur paas…’ scene between you and Shah Rukh.
I think the magic was in the way it was conceived. It was a beautifully written scene. Of course Shah Rukh enacted it very well. It also was very different from the intense romantic scenes I had done before; perhaps that’s why it stands out even today.

All your co-stars are still going strong – Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh, Sanjay Dutt and Anil Kapoor. Who do you think has aged and matured the best, professionally?
All of them are doing so beautifully, including Anil. He is one person who really works hard at his roles and even if he is in a group of people he manages to stand out. He always makes sure that he does his thing the best way. You can see the growth of the actor in Shah Rukh from his first movie to My Name Is Khan. The same is true for Aamir as well; he was so good in 3 Idiots that he actually looked like a college student. Sanjay too has grown in the sheer versatility that he has brought into his repertoire – from being a pure action hero; he played a cripple in Saajan and then did admirable comedy in Munnabhai MBBS. Salman’s naughtiness as Chulbul Pandey (Dabangg) is so infectious and fresh. All of them have grown tremendously as actors. It’s great to see them as leading men on-screen even today.

Opposite whom would you be the most keen to be paired again today?
It doesn’t matter. I would be more interested in what kind of role I am playing and my contribution to the movie.

Any actors you regret not being paired opposite with?
I would have loved to work with Balraj Sahniji and Dilip Kumar because they are such good actors.

Madhuri & Amitabh Bachchan at Stardust awards
And Amitabh Bachchan?
I would obviously love to work opposite Amitji. But I can’t say I would have liked to work with him because who knows about tomorrow, we still might get to do a film together.

Your item song with Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda in Bade Miyan Chote Miyan was said to be an after thought insert to make the film commercially more viable. So in a way at that time you were perceived to be a bigger box-office draw.
Well, I don’t know about that. The producer will be the best person to analyse that. But I think my character was in the film from the beginning. I also had some scenes in the film beyond the Makhna… song where I had to play along with my public image of a star and the characters of Amitji and Govinda were supposed to be my fans. So my role wasn’t inserted later as an after thought.

Ek do teen…, Humko aaj kal…, Tu shayar hai…, Dhak dhak…, Choli ke peeche…, Didi tera devar…, Chak doom doom…, Mera piya ghar aaya…, Maar daala…, Aaja nachle… – in a way your career can also be defined by a series of hit dance songs. Talking perceptions, do you ever feel that the overwhelming success of your dance songs denied you, your due as an actress in any way?
No, because until and unless you have acted well and done an overall good job in a movie no impact happens with just a few hit songs. Everything else has to be there in the movie. If I am not a good actress I won’t be able to show the right expressions in my songs. You have to be a good actress to do that and dance well. So I don’t think that’s the case.

Madhuri Dixit with Shabana Azmi
Did your overwhelming popular actress image prevent more art house projects coming your way? In spite of an occasional Dharavi you never really went about seeking realistic parts in your career?
Well, I did films like Mrityudand and Prahaar whenever I got those offers. Parinda was another movie that could be called off-beat. I had to say yes to do them, right? So I had never consciously stayed away from art house cinema. It’s all about doing a good film and at the end of the day the only difference between the two is that commercial films have more entertainment. Also I think I got my fair share of good parts to play within popular cinema. There were a few films where in spite of my doing challenging performances they didn’t do very well commercially like Sangeet, where I played a double role of a blind girl and her mother.

Were you disappointed by the failure of films like Lajja, Mrityudand, Prem Granth… which showcased some of your toughest acting moments?
No, because I enjoyed working in those films. I enjoyed doing those ‘controversial’ scenes, getting into those characters and playing out their lives; so it was a tremendous amount of satisfaction for me to have been able to do these varied roles. I have worked long enough to understand that you can never anticipate box-office results. There will be hits and misses but the fact that I got the opportunity to portray these characters is thrilling for me.

Do you ever regret missing out on winning a National award? Mrityudand came closest to getting you one.
Yes, it did. But I don’t really regret anything. I have enjoyed working in every film that I did. I did the best of roles because of which people love me even today. So what else can I ask for?

Now what made you do an incomprehensible film like Gaja Gamini, which was panned by many as an embarrassment of a narrative! Did you do it because you couldn’t say no to its director, the legendary artist MF Husain, given his publicly declared infatuation of you?
I don’t think it was an embarrassment. It was never meant to have anything commercial about it. It was an art house experiment in the extreme. I knew the moment I agreed to do it that it was not a coherent script with a definite beginning, middle or end. We made it because Hussainji loves cinema and in his vision, each frame had to be like a painting. We knew what we were making before shooting. That’s why I had no issues with the film and I don’t think it was an embarrassment at all.

Madhuri in GajaGamini
Okay, how did you tackle its non-linear making process as an actress?
For me, its script had a different connotation. It was like whatever I would interpret and even for Hussainji it was just something written from the heart, and free flowing. He just wanted to create moving pictures. That was his intent and that’s what he did. If you take out any one frame out of the film in singularity, it looks like a painting. That’s how he had visualised the film, purely on its colour schemes… It was an experimental project and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Is he still as smitten by you?
You have to ask him about that! (Laughs) But once in a while, he still writes to me. He is a very busy person and very active. He is globe trotting all the time.

You had once stated: ‘I have learnt all my acting skills from my directors.’ Could you elaborate with examples?
I came into the industry as a trained classical dancer, but I was never a trained actor. So I learnt the craft as I worked along. I got to earn different aspects of acting from different directors. From Rajkumar Santoshi, N Chandra and Prakash Jha I learnt how to tackle intense, dramatic scenes. K Vishwanathji, Subhashji (Ghai) and especially Bappu Garu from the South taught me a lot on how to enhance the effect of close-ups with little expressions here and there. Parinda was my first off-beat film. My character in it was very different from what I was doing in my other films at that time. So from Vidhu Vinod Chopra I got to learn the subtleties of realistic cinema. The way Soorajji (Barjatya) brought forth the innocence in his characters was tremendous. Playing Nisha in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! was very demanding. And though I had done many romantic films, no one evokes romance on-screen like Yash Chopra. Romanticism is achieved in his movies through their beautiful writing and picturisation.

You also got to play Yash Chopra’s famous on-screen muse the ‘lady in white!’ Who exactly is she?
She is a very mystique kind of figure, somebody who is unattainable, someone you would imagine to be the ideal, and yet you meet her in the most ordinary circumstances.  

Which of your characters came closest to the real you?
Nisha was the most identifiable as she is a real, everyday kind of a person. The most noticed acting emotions like high drama, intensity, etc… are once in a while emotions. You come across persons high on these attributes also only once in a while. But Nisha was an everyday person and hence she came closest to what I am in real life.

A lot of classics are being remade of late. Which Bollywood classic’s remake would you like to feature in?
Waheedaji’s Guide or Pakeezah for its dances; but though the films were dance driven their lead heroine roles had a lot of character.

Do you think marriage outside the industry works better for heroines? You are the latest to join the list of successfully married leading actresses like Vyjayanthimala Bali, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman…
Can one really comment in a general way on what works for one person and doesn’t for another with something like marriage? I think it’s a very personal thing and varies from person to person.

For a leading star, going for an arranged marriage is unthinkable. Do you think your middle-class upbringing prepared you for such a decision?
People say ours (Madhuri and Dr Sriram Nene) is an arranged marriage. In a way, the meeting between me and Mr. Nene was arranged by our parents but eventually it was the two of us who decided on the marriage. We met and went out together for a few times. We dated for a while and then agreed to marry. It wasn’t like abhi mile, aur ab is se shaadi karni hai. That’s what I would call is an arranged marriage. Like the ones in which you just see the photographs of your would-be spouse and then go ahead and marry. But that didn’t happen with us, I knew him pretty well before I said yes.

Has Mr. Nene’s list of ‘seen’ Madhuri Dixit films increased in the last few years? Which of your films are his favourites?
I make sure that he sees only the good ones. He likes Dil To Pagal Hai, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…!, Mrityudand and Devdas. He says that he likes the way I slip into a character with ease without making the viewer realise about it. And that I think is a big compliment.

Not many know that you completed much of Devdas post marriage. What is Mr. Nene’s take on your subsequent returns to work?
Actually, I began shooting for Devdas after I got married. He has always been encouraging about my working in films. I had taken a break from films because there were other important things in life that I wanted to devote my time to. But it’s great to come back and do something that’s close to my heart.

Devdas was said to be your most fitting swan song. Did you too feel the same?
No, I didn’t. People have to write something. For them Devdas was like my swan song; but when did I ever say that I won’t do movies after I got married.

You had recently mentioned that your kids too are now asking you to return to work.
Yes, that’s true because the thought processes around them is very different today. My sons often say, ‘You were a famous person, why don’t you work in movies anymore?’ And I tell them, ‘I can, if I want to.’ So they are open to it. This time during the shooting of Jhalak…, they came to India and saw me on the sets. So now they kind of accept that fact that their mother is a professional and may have to work once in a while. 

What’s the one thing you like/dislike most about being a regular citizen?
I like every bit of it because I can do whatever I want to without being judged or scrutinized. It has made me be able to have my own life.

How was it coping with the experience of not being recognised? When do you miss the arc lights the most?
I didn’t have to cope with it. My acting was only limited to the sets. Once I went home I was a regular person. That’s how I have always lived. So for me it was not an adjustment. In fact I enjoyed my freedom. I don’t know about the arc lights. But occasionally I do miss not doing my craft – acting, dancing and emoting. So once in a while I might miss that but then I get so busy with my kids that there is hardly any time to think.

Do you see any of your sons taking to your calling in future?
I don’t know yet. They have their own personalities. My thought is that I don’t want to preempt anything. I don’t want to tell them – ‘I want you to do this or that.’ I want them to choose what their professions will be.

You had once stated: ‘I think like Sridevi, I was another heroine who could break the barriers between the classes and masses.’ Is that how you would like posterity to remember you?
There was lot of disparity in the viewing tastes of the classes and the masses in those days. For instance, the classy people would like certain kind of films and the masses would opt for another kind of films. Today that gap is no longer there. So for myself, I would like to be known as someone who was not only a good actor but also a good human being, a good mother, a good wife and a good responsible citizen. I think that’s how I would like to be remembered.

And if you had to sum yourself in one word it would be…


*By Piyush Roy
Source: Stardust

1/13/2014 02:56:15 am

will madhuri ever kiss again on screen, even though she is married?

1/28/2014 11:31:44 pm

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1/30/2014 02:35:54 am

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