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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Bollywood shooting locations with Ridhima Pathak. Watch new show on Zing and ETC!

Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection, anchored by Ridhima Pathak features international locales where Hindi movies have been filmed

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Ridhima Pathak anchoring for Bollylands.com - Bollywood ka Global Connection

Bollywood plays a major role in attracting Indian tourists to lands far away. In the course of years we have grown up watching films with beautiful songs and scenes shot abroad – and seeing countries we have never been to. Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection is the new show anchored by Ridhima Pathak, which airs on Zing on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 pm. It also airs on ETC on Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30pm. Ridhima Pathak while talking to CineBlitz, speaks about the show, her career and many other interesting things.

Tell us something about how you began your career in showbiz?

I always liked to be on stage and have the spotlight but I never thought I could make this a career. I am an engineer by qualification and topper of my university, I was a nerd but one who loved to be on stage. I participated in a lot of debates and extempore and literally made those competitions as a source of income during my engineering days. I was good at it and won most of them; the prize money was good and served as additional pocket money. I was campus hired and was working in the R&D department of a multi-billion dollar company, coding transmissions to automate trucks in the USA!

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Ridhima Pathak at a cafe

I left that job to prepare to do my MBA as I wanted to go and study in Harvard but during the preparation period I also went and auditioned as an anchor in a local channel in Pune! I got the gig and started working for them as a freelancer, after which I did cricket commentary for a lot of local clubs in Pune. From there I got a break with Star sports and the rest is, as they say, history.

Tell us about your new show?

It’s a brilliant concept and so relevant. Our Bollywood movies have a huge part in promoting tourism within India and abroad. Europe has been Bollywood’s hot favourite which has given dreams to the masses of India of once visiting those locations shown in Bollywood movies. They wish to travel in trains the way Raj and Simran did or dance in locations where Govinda and Karishma Kapoor romanced. They might just think of going on a honeymoon alone the way Kangana did to find a suitable partner.

Films also make the audience curious to know more about those locations or how those iconic scenes were shot. Bollylands.com – Bollywood ka Global Connection is a show about this girl who is a Bollywood buff travelling the world through the lenses of Bollywood and is a guide for the audience – plus the show is loaded with Bollywood trivia.

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Anchor Ridhima Pathak and director Shashank Mane

According to you what is the one unique thing that this show will offer?

If you love TV and movies and are curious to know what goes into shooting at outdoor locations, then this show is for you. The thought and hardships that have gone into making an iconic song or scene, with the presenter at that location makes it all the more easier for the viewer to visualize, rather than just being a chat show. This show has plenty to offer, we showcase major attractions and landmarks that have been an integral part of our Bollywood movies.

Along with this, we also present a slice of the local culture, food, nightlife and shopping destinations of those locations. Plus, at the end of each episode, we have a special segment where we meet the cast and crew of the films that have been shot there to tell us about some trivia and fun facts about their time abroad.

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Anchor Ridhima Pathak and director Shashank Mane

What are some of the destination that the show will cover? Which of these are your favourites?

Austria, Germany, Hungary and many more have been covered in Season 1. My favourite would be Budapest. It’s culturally rich, beautiful and spectacular. While walking through the Charles bridge with a camera being pointed at me, I honestly felt that some where from the corner Sanjay Leela Bhansali was watching. He had used the bridge as a metaphor so beautifully in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam!

What is the best thing about being a presenter?

The best thing about being a presenter is that the world is your platter. If you are hungry for knowledge and know how to deliver that information in style, then you can have an opportunity to present! From spelling bee competitions to travelogues to food to sports to Bollywood to a show on manufacturing units to trucks to tigers to sharks to adventure sports to public affairs to politics to what women want to Mann ki baat… anything and everything under the roof and I have done everything mentioned above and more!

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Ridhima Pathak during the shooting of the show

Tell us three things that people do not know about you.

I am a trained Kathak dancer; I am trying to loose weight but I have sweet tooth so it’s getting difficult; and I still want to go to Harvard!

Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more exclusive news and updates from the world of Bollywood.

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Kunaal Roy Kapur confesses being scared of horror films

In a candid chat with CineBlitz Kunal Roy Kapur opened up about his break from the big screen, the web space flourishing and a lot more…

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Kunaal Roy Kapoor; Source: Instagram

Kunaal Roy Kapur who rose to fame with Delhi Belly and Nautanki Saala also tried his luck in the web space.  He was last seen in the TVF original Triplings. Now, Kunaal is heading on to try a new genre and doing a horror film titled Mushkil: Fear Behind You. The actor who is on a promotional spree right now, got into an exclusive conversation with CineBlitz and spoke about horror as a genre, how much he liked Stree, how he finds web space more inclusive and what scares him. Read on…

What appealed to you to do a horror film?

I met the director and he narrated the whole story to me. He had a very clear vision in his head. Also he comes from a film background but he has also done a lot of work in the animation industry on films like Bal Ganesha and few more. According to me when someone has done animation he knows what he or she particularly needs, how a story is told visually. Also, the character appealed to me. I have been always doing roles where I play the nice guy, or bad things happening to me. But in this one I got a chance to play a flirt, a little bit larger than life, he is a guide. He has his own ways with women, little bit outspoken and I had never done that which excited me.

How much of a fan are you of horror films?

Horror is a fun genre when you work in it. I cannot say that I am a horror fan or love watching horror films. I am scared of horror films, the most I can do is IT, more adventure horror say Stranger Things, that’s it. If you go towards Insidious,AnabelleExorcism of Emily Rose, are not at all my cup of tea since childhood. When I was a kid, I used to run to other room. But at the same time when you are making a horror film, the fun you have, no other genre has.

In the times where horror comedies are also making it big, what is the unique aspect you are bringing with this film?

I love horror comedy and I loved Stree, which did a fabulous job of cracking the genre. People had attempted in the past but didn’t reach the perfection maybe. I wish I was a part of that kind of a film as well, because, horror and comedy combination and it also had a nice social message in it. Having said that, there will always be a space for pure horror, ours is more of a pure horror film.

We don’t get to see much of you on the big screen, is it a conscious effort to take long breaks?

It’s not like that; there are a lot of opportunities in the web space right now. I have been doing a few shows including one for Amazon prime and I did one for Eros now. So I am saying that to do good work is now not only limited to the big screen. Also, how the people consume it is not longer only a big screen. So, right now I am more on web than films.

So, what according to you is the difference between the web space and big screen?

I think writing is the main difference, with big screen you need to be able to cater a wider spread of audience so your writing has to be broader. With web you can target a certain bracket, whether age group, sensibilities or genre can be even more specific. It’s a capsule that you can consume anywhere, anytime at you leisure. That is the beauty of writing in web space where you can go specific. Also, the production value with the OTT’s is at power.

What’s difficult comedy or horror?

As an actor I would say, comedy is more difficult.  If you are making the film, horror is more difficult. But both are enjoyable, have their set of challenges. But still comedy for me is difficult and challenging than horror.

For more updates and gossip, stay tuned to CineBlitz.

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Nach Baliye 9: Madhurima Tuli opens up about her equation with Vishal Aditya Singh

Contrary to Vishal Aditya Singh’s claim of not being on talking terms with ex-girlfriend Madhurima Tuli, the actress has another tale to tell

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Madhurima Tuli (Image Source: Instagram)

Nach Baliye 9’s ex-couple Vishal Aditya Singh and Madhurima Tuli worked together in Chandrakanta. And the two even started dating each other, but a few months back the couple called it quits and as per Vishal they were not even on talking terms. But destiny had other plans and the exes are now participating in the Salman Khan produced dance reality show. Throughout the show’s promotion Madhurima’s identity was kept a secret, but now that it is revealed that she is Vishal’s baliye, we got in touch with the actress who spoke about their bittersweet equation, the reports of the same and her experience on the show. Read on…

How is the Nach Baliye experience?

Well, the rehearsals and everything is going fantastic, there is the ‘ex’ factor where there is a little bit of friction, but otherwise, everything is fantastic. Hope you will like the show, the first episode has aired, and tonight will be my revelation.

Reports state that there are a lot of differences and constant bickering between you two. What do you have to say about that?

Honestly, there are a lot of issues between us. But when we thought of doing this we thought let’s do it to win the show without getting any of our issues in between. We broke up a few months back only, the friction is very strong. Sometimes he doesn’t agree to what I say or I do not agree to what he says, so, it just gets very difficult to practice with someone who doesn’t understand you. But we both always wanted to do Nach Baliye, so I am just keeping that aside. If we have a fight, I come back home and try and forget the misunderstanding, the next day I again go with a very happy zone thinking I have to win the show and give my best. So it’s about thinking positive and not let anything negative affect you.

Before the show, Vishal got a lot of coverage, and he even spoke a lot of things about the equation between you two. Was this because your identity was kept a secret?

Yes, it was because of the secret factor. There is no such thing that he is getting more coverage or anything, in the end, it is only going to be both of us doing the show together. So it was just because of the mystery factor.

In one of the interviews, Vishal said that when was approached for the show with you, he wasn’t very keen. What was your reaction to all this?

I was quite shocked, at that time we were on talking terms and he saying this was very disheartening for me. We are talking; once in a blue moon we meet also, he used to come home also, so we were on talking terms and him saying this had really broken my heart. So, then I thought that now toh I have to do it (the show), if he doesn’t want to he will refuse. Let him say no then we won’t do it because they had approached me also.

Don’t you think the friction might affect your chemistry on stage during the performances?

That I don’t know.  I am trying hard…I am thinking that he is my co-actor, and not thinking he is my ex or was my lover at some point, I  just keep all that aside. Without getting involved I am giving my performances. Hopefully, that chemistry comes out…even in the friction that angst should also come out, that also looks nice. Depends on how the audience takes it.

What about your equation with other Jodis, who do you think is a strong competition and who is your favourite?

I love all of them, they are amazing people. They perform so beautifully, though Rohit Reddy (Anita Hassanandani’s baliye) is a non-dancer, he is doing great, he is working hard. They share beautiful chemistry, Prince-Yuvika are amazing, mostly all are. Aly-Natasha are fantastic, Babita-Vivek are good. It’s all about bringing that chemistry and content to your story. Kieth-Rochelle are also a lovely couple.

What is next on the work front, whether after Nach Baliye 9 or along with it?

My web-show will be coming out soon with Applause Entertainment. The dubbing is on right now, so after Nach Baliye 9 I will be promoting that show.

Well, we look forward to seeing this bittersweet equation get better on Nach Baliye 9 and we wish Vishal and Madhurima all the very best. Stay tuned to CineBlitz for more updates on the dance reality show.

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