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Madhuri Dixit: It is the best era for actresses; Tabu’s role in Andhadhun was fabulous!

In an exclusive interview with CineBlitz, Madhuri Dixit-Nene speaks about Total Dhamaal, Kalank, how it is the best time to be an actress and much more



madhuri dixit nene kalank interview

2019 is a special year for Madhuri Dixit Nene. The star completes 35 years in the industry and is still raring to go. She confesses that her priorities have changed over the years. But she has enjoyed every phase like a blessing. The actress enjoyed Box Office superstardom few actresses could dream of, but had no regrets bowing out at the peak to pursue family life. However, B-Town just can’t get enough of her, and her sporadic screen outings keep her fan base excited for more! The actress was seen in Total Dhamaal earlier this year. And will next be seen in the much awaited Kalank. The diva talks to Aakanksha Naval-Shetye about the big Ms of her life – movies and motherhood!

With Total Dhamaal, you returned to Bollywood after five years (the last we saw her was in 2014, in Gulab Gang and Dedh Ishqiya). What kept you away?

Well, Bollywood is only one aspect of me, and there’s more that I wanted to explore. Besides, being a mother, there’s not just one responsibility. I was busy with my kids, they’re growing up and need my attention. Plus there are other things I was working on. I have produced a film 15th August which will release on Netflix by the end of this month. I did a season of Dance Deewane. I did Bucket List in Marathi, so I’ve been away from Bollywood, but not away from work or the movies.

What’s the draw of signing on a film for you today?

The same as always! The script should excite me. I’d love to do any role that puts me in a different light and makes me think. It should either shake me out of my comfort zone or should be absolute fun to do, like a Total Dhamaal!

How was it working on Total Dhamaal?

Great fun! I’ve worked with Induji (director Indra Kumar), with Anil (Kapoor), Ajay (Devgn), Arshad (Warsi), Johnny Lever and even with Jaaved Jaffrey (100 Days), so it was like a big reunion (laughs).

What would you say about the kind of films being made today?

I think they’re making some amazing films today. But most importantly, I think it’s the best phase for women to be in cinema because they are being given different kind of roles.

But even as a ‘commercial’ star, you had done content-driven films way back, like a Mrityudand

Yes. But you know, it was difficult for a ‘commercial’ actress to break into that zone then. When I did Mrityudand and Gaja Gamini, a lot of people gave me big lectures saying, ‘You’re a commercial star, you can’t be doing an ‘art’ film’.’ But I’ve always been keen on doing different genres, and pushing myself to see how far I could go as an actor. So, it was a great role and I’d wanted to do a different film too. It was a risk, but if it gets appreciated, it kind of creates a path for the others to follow. Somebody else may want to take a risk or be inspired to do something like this or make something like this.

Would you say Mrityudand and Gaja Gamini were films ahead of their times?

Yes, Mrityudand was ahead of its time. It was a different film at that time, but it still is just as relevant. It’s not dated. I think Gaja Gamini was an artistic film, more linear like a festival film. We still have a few years to go for the common man to understand that cinema (laughs).

Today, the lines have blurred between commercial and art or parallel cinema!

Yes, but today, the demarcation exists between the big budget ones, where the films are mounted on a huge scale, versus smaller budget films. So it’s larger-than-life kind of cinema versus slice-of-life kind of films placed in realistic settings. And they are also just as fabulous, like a Baahubali does great, but so does an Andhadhun or a Badhaai Ho.

madhuri dixit total dhamaal

Is there a temptation to do someone else’s role? Like, do you see any of the films and wish you had done it?

No. When I see somebody else’s film, I see it as their film – not what if I would have done it types — else I would never enjoy any film (laughs). There are a lot of films I have liked and appreciated, but I’m happy to have watched them as an audience.

You still have amazing roles come your way, but do you wish for more options?

You have to take one film at a time. It’s not just about a woman-centric role, but about good parts being written for women of any age. I see that happening now. It will take time to change, but it is happening. Be it here or in the West, I think women are getting amazing roles to play. Tabu’s role in Andhadhun was fabulous. So that’s why I think it truly is the best era for actresses.

Would you want to direct a film?

Well, I get asked a lot. But for now, I’m just happy to have produced one. Let’s see.

What about producing in Bollywood?

I have just finished my first production. We are looking at various films and hopefully something should work out soon.

What about a dance film? Probably for the web-space?

If it works out, definitely yes.

You started your Bollywood journey with small roles. How do you feel, looking back?

To be honest, back then, I wasn’t even aware they are small roles. I didn’t know how the industry worked. I would do a film and go back to my studies, my focus was to do microbiology. On the side, these small roles worked and I liked doing them. But at some point, I had to choose. I realised what I loved doing the most, and somewhere, I got pushed by luck too. So I had the opportunities, and films like Ram Lakhan and Tezaab just happened.

Do you have Friday morning anxiety on the day of your release?

Not nervous or anxious, but you do hope that people will like your work. The song-and-dance-routines have changed in Bollywood!

madhuri dixit kalank

Do you miss the song and dance?

Yes. When we had films that were larger-than-life, people expected specially choreographed and elaborate dance sequences. But when you go into a different genre like Andhadhun, where would you add a song there? So, ultimately a script decides that. Besides, when there is dance in movies, there are people saying why are there dances? And if there are no dances, people are still going to say why no dances! They would work in a dance-themed film or a film where you can incorporate dance. But if you are making Uri, where would you add a dance?

What do you feel about your songs being recreated, like Ek Do Teen for Baaghi 2 and Tamma Tamma for Badrinath Ki Dulhania, especially when they fail to recreate your magic?

I think it’s wonderful to see them being inspired and wanting to recreate something that they are nostalgic about. I think they perceive it in a certain way which is great too.

Are your kids interested in films as a profession?

I’ve told them they can do whatever they want. So, if they are keen on films, I will tell them all that they will have to face (laughs).

Are they fans of your work?

They are getting their heads around the idea of me being an actress (laughs). We don’t sit and watch my films, but they do come across a lot of my work. They are aware more because of their friends. Like one of the kids told my son, ‘You are lucky your mum is Madhuri Dixit’, and it had him confused as to why he would say that. But yes, I am their mum and it’s a fact! It’s not something we discuss really.

Which is your favourite Madhuri Dixit film?

Hum Aapke Hain Kaun is evergreen and will always be close to my heart. Also Mrityudand.

Do you see a considerable change in the definition of a superstar since your heyday?

With every era, there’s a different tableau that is affected by factors like exposure and accessibility. Today, they are there for people to connect to on so many social media platforms. So, the definition will change, yes, but the word won’t go out anytime soon.