Today as the gorgeous Karisma Kapoor celebrates her 47th birthday, I remember the various occasions when I used to bump into her at various parties. The versatile actress has left her footprints in the annals of Indian cinema right from the time she breezed in with D Rama Naidu’s Prem Qaidi till she opted for marriage and motherhood. To mark her birthday, I reproduce this earlier interview of mine with her, and wish her a happy birthday as I know her right from Day One when she had made her debut in films.
You were a judge in the reality show Nach Baliye Season 4. Is judging reality shows an alternative career for actresses today?
I do not think that being a judge of a reality show is a career alternative for actresses today. I consider it as yet another avenue to meet the contestants, interact with them and connect with the grass roots. Though one may take on the mantle of the judge for the reality show, I feel that once you are an actress, you are always an actress. I love dancing. I like all kinds of jhatkas and kamar matkas. I have always identified myself with all the contestants because I could empathize with what they were undergoing since people used to wait to know what kind of song and dances I was doing in all the movies in which I have acted till date, be it Mere Pant Bhi Sexy Hai in Dulara or Pardesi Pardesi in Raja Hindustani.
Did you have any reservations about being seen on TV?
Before Nach Bliye 4, I had already made the transition from films to TV with the serial Karishma on Sahara One. TV has been an amazing experience for me. I admire all the TV artists who do fiction as well as reality shows, because I know how tough it is to be on your toes on TV for 24 hours. Today we should wake up to reality and admit that the gap between the television screen and the big celluloid screen has been narrowed down and is very close, with every big star be it Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan in Kaun Banega Karodpati or Kya Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hai or for that matter Salman Khan in Bigg Boss or Dus Ka Dum entering the fray as the game show anchor or judges like Urmila Matondkdar did in Waar Parivaar and Madhuri Dixit and Govinda.
Is it true that you had turned down several reality shows earlier including Chak De?
I had been offered quite a few shows earlier either as a judge or as a participant but it did not work for some reason or the other. You feel nice when you realize that you are wanted. One of the reasons why I could not accept the offers before Nach Baliye 4, besides the money factor which did not suit me, was the fact that my daughter Samaira needed my time and attention and I could not afford to leave her side for the sake of judging a show.
How tough is it for you to juggle between your home and career?
It is not at all difficult for me to juggle my job as a judge and manage my home because frankly my job as the Judge in a reality TV show does not take much of your time like say a TV serial or for that matter a feature film. I said yes to the offer to judge Nach Baliye Season 4 when Star Plus approached me only after I made sure that the time frame required from me suited me. I need to devote only one or two days every week to the show which was on air on the week-ends on Fridays and Saturdays.
How excited were you about your come-back with TV after a gap of six years after Shakti?
I had never ever said that I was quitting acting in films. In Hollywood, several actors like Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep take a break from acting once in a while to rejuvenate themselves. When they appear in a film after a break, you do not say that they are staging a comeback. I think it is high time we in India also broadened our horizons towards reality. Don’t women in other professions take maternity leave and resume their work after they deliver a kid? I would say that it has been a well deserved break for me, after working nonstop for almost ten years ever since my debut with Prem Qaidi. Your priorities in life change from time to time.
Okay. How would you describe your break from films?
It has been a well deserved and great enough break for an actress like me who has had the best of both the worlds. I am happy with the way my career has progressed. I have had the opportunity to work in meaningful films like Khalid Mohammad’s Fiza as well as Shyam Benegal’s Zubeida as well as commercial films like David Dhawan’s Hero No 1 and Biwi No 1. I would not hesitate to admit that it is an amazing feeling when I hear people tell me that they want to see me on the big screen once again. I do miss my craft because I have always been passionate about acting. You know it because you have seen me from Day One as an actress.
Is it true that you have been steadfastly turning down acting offers?
To tell you the truth, I have been offered a lot of movies but I have steadfastly declined them because no film has touched my heart or made me feel for the film from inside and compelled me to take up the offer. I feel I should be proud to do a film, irrespective of its fate at the box office. The day I get an amazing offer, I’d grab it with both my hands.
Did you refuse to act in Lamhe because you did not want to shoot in Kashmir?
I turned down the offer to act in Lamhe when Rahul Dholakia offered the film to me not because I did not want to shoot in Kashmir, but because Rahul was not at all clear about my role, the time period of the shoot and my dates.
You have not acted with your kid sister Kareena Kapoor in any film till date!
I have been offered quite a lot of films with Kareena. However I feel that it would be a big deal for both of us to co-star in a film and hence we do not want to do just any film. It would have to be the ultimate. You never know it could be a home production which my dad may or may not direct.
In what way do you feel you and Kareena are different from one another?
Kareena and I are poles apart. I am old fashioned unlike Kareena who shocks me all the time. There is no way I would have had the guts to be in a relationship with a co-star of mine or get married like her at the height of my career. However I am happy for her because she is a sensible girl and the family has stood by whatever decision she takes as far as her life is concerned.
What is the difference between Lolo of yesterday and Karisma Kapoor of today?
There are ups and downs in any marriage. Motherhood does change a woman quite a lot. It has made me more mature and also balanced if I may add so because I now have a better perspective about life unlike earlier. I would say that undoubtedly it is the best experience a woman can go through in her life. Motherhood, I’d add, has made me much more responsible now as a human being than earlier when I was a single carefree bachelor girl.