Beginning with the show you’ve very recently signed to judge, Dance Deewane Junior, how excited are you about the whole new process and the challenges it brings along?
It is an indescribable feeling. As a person who dearly loves kids and likes to appreciate their work and talent, it is more than happiness one can feel. After Rishi’s death, I’ve done one movie and two more shows, and they’ve really lifted up my spirits. When this offer came along, I saw this as a healing process for me and I accepted it. The kids are all extremely talented.
They do all these varied dance forms like Popping and Hip-Hop, some of which I might even be completely aware of, since, during my time we had the two three dance forms of Thumka’s and Bharatanatyam, Bhagwan Dada style and Govida Style, compared to which these kids adapt to styles, and very well they do, that are completely different from the kind of dances I’ve done.
Nora and Marzi make me acquainted with the many dancing styles the talented children do. I thoroughly enjoy the process of watching them dance, to connect their energy and try to remain optimistic about their work.
As you describe these kids, they must have too much energy in them to perform the way that they do. Does their energy rub on you?
My heart and soul are very youthful, age as a factor doesn’t rub against it. I still love to dance and be cheerful and happy. I wouldn’t want my life to push the pause button or be sad for a period of time longer than I should be, in a way that it could negatively affect me. Life must move on.
Your life must have been greatly impacted by Rishi Sir’s death. As you go through a new phase, how do you prepare yourself for it?
I push myself out of my comfort zone. I filmed Jugg Jugg Jiyo, and I knew it’s going to be difficult, but I had to get better. Yes, the first day was probably the most challenging, but it gradually got better. It is extremely important to be productive, in order to get out of that kind of energy or place. There was a time, as an actress, when acting was a part of my job. Something that I had to do for multiple reasons, but now, it is something I do not as a duty, something I do for myself and my passion. It is what I owe to myself.
Sharmaji Namkeen is based on this very ideology, life happens, you cannot force your way through it. You definitely cannot sit home and watch TV all the time, you have to take up tasks that keep you busy, but more importantly make you happy.
Sharamaji Namkeen was Rishi Sir’s last movie. How excited he was for this?
Oh, super excited, so much that he colored all his hair gray to fit the role but they didn’t want that color, so they tried to remove it, although, his hair did not go back to attain their natural color due to a certain pigment in it. This was also when his cancer was detected, Ranbir and a few other family members went to get him for his treatment in NYC. But then when the photographs for the movie from its pre-shoot were released, all his hair were gray in it that made people believe that his illness was getting worse, which wasn’t the case.
In reality, he purposely colored his hair, which he had to change again for his role. When he recovered through the treatment he received in New York City, the first thing he wanted to do was complete his filming for which we had our own concerns because he was healing. But he remained focused, although it didn’t go too well, and he couldn’t complete it. He had worked only 30 days on the film, ten days prior to receiving the treatment and 20 post it. But he did what he loved, and that makes me happy.
Acting is scripted, it is fictional, judging, on the other hand is not. How skilfully do you think you can pull off this reality TV work?
Judging requires an attentive and observing state of mind, one has to be balanced inside their head to perform this function well. There is no scripting, it doesn’t require talent, it is based more on understanding and adapting to the performers’ energy and considering the diligence they put into it, then finally coming to critically appreciating it.
What kind of a judge do you think you would be?
The Emotional kind. I don’t want to be the strict kind. I will try to remain optimistic, polite and nice and motivating that keeps the children willing to improve and in no way hurt them. These kids are doing unique things and my primary work as a judge is to bring out the best in them.
What are you looking for in a script for your upcoming movies?
I am looking for something that relates to more women, something that is more empowering, strong. It has to be the demand, the want and desire to do something nice. Something that touches my heart and mind, that calls out to me. It could be out of the ordinary, like my role in Jugg Jugg Jiyo. It’s not the same old mother or Bhabhi role. It is much more in terms of character meaning and morale. I could always sit back and enjoy a leisurely life, but acting is my passion. It is okay to do little, but it is important to do it well.
There have been multiple actors and actresses who’ve been judging shows like this, so as an actor as experienced as yourself, do you think it is good to have someone with that kind of experience judging such shows?
It is nice to have someone who is experienced but more than that, judging according to me is more inclined towards the audience being able to relate to the judge and their judgement. For instance, Mr. Mithun Chakraborty himself is a great dancer. I have been dancing for a time longer than I may recall. So, I do understand what a contestant or a young dancer is trying to do. Also, it is not just a glass of my own that I can talk about my experience as a dancer that I put to use. I’ve seen Rishi and Ranbir and learned from them too! So, I can say, my knowledge is gained through experience and is vast. I know when something is right and when something is wrong, that’s what judging is all about. To see every minute detail and know if it fits or not. That’s judging through relatable experience for me.
Who is the best dancer in Kapoor Khandaan?
My son, of course! Rishi was a good performer, his hands and expressions were complete, one didn’t have to look at his footwork while dancing. So, is the case of Shammi Kapoor, who moved with grace and his own style. But Ranbir, is a complete package as a dancer with effortless dancing skills delivered with his own SWAG.
Are things now going your way personally and professionally?
Absolutely yes! This phase is making me stronger and fuller. I’m taking up new tasks and trying to make the most out of the time I have on my hands.
On the perception of TV shows, many people say that kids are put on a strict schedule with their parents pressuring them to perform. What would you have to say about this?
It is the parents’ call. I really don’t know how they prepare but I do understand that the parents want their child to be better. It could be because of the competition or maybe because they are starstruck. I too have worked as a child actress, I had to. So, I’d like to believe that the parents want the best for their child and their family. Honestly, this is a very relative question and could change from person to person and situation to situation.
So, do the kids tend to lose on their child like innocence?
There is so much competitiveness and peer pressure in modern times. They are forced to grow up faster and take up tasks that are not always for them, how could they not?
What is the D-Date?
Are you sure it hasn’t happened yet? They may also be getting married as we speak now! Whenever it may be, it’s only going to be auspicious and well-intended.