Beautiful Inside out

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 May 2018 10:51:46


By Aasawari Shenolikar,

She is probably the only one who has a film Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hun named after her; she is definitely the only one for whom Pakistan was ready to give up its fight for Kashmir stating, ‘Tum hamein Madhuri Dixit do, hum tumhe Kashmir denge’. She also is, probably, the last of the divas of the Indian film industry. Having interacted with her on phone before, this was my first time, across the table, with the ageless beauty. As I walked into the room, there she sat, her infectious and dazzling smile putting to shame the glittering lights. As I walked towards her, the aura of a superstar became strongly evident - she is grace personified - a queen on her throne. But a queen who is humble, no pretensions, down to earth and as it turned out, great fun to interact with. It took only a couple of exchanges for me to realise that there is much more to her - she is not just beautiful on the outside, but also on the inside; warm, genuine and vivacious.

While talking about her passion, cinema, and now, with Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar’s Bucket List, a new chapter in her life, she still exudes the enthusiasm of a teenager, and this, probably is, what translates into her being brilliant on screen.

But naturally the conversation opens up with her bucket list - was doing a Marathi film ever on her bucket list? The sensational smile, that made million hearts go Dhak Dhak, is still in place when she answers. “Of course, it always has been. I am an actor, and language has never been a deciding factor. Earlier I was busy with Hindi cinema, post marriage, it was again Hindi films and then the TV shows that kept me engaged. Till Tejas came up to me, I had not been offered a strong script in Marathi. But one narration is all it took for me to say yes to him,” she says. And with Bucket List Madhuri Dixit has ticked off one item off her bucket list.

So how was it working with the young dynamic Tejas? Her eyes light up when she says that it was a wonderful experience. “Age,” she says, “has nothing to do with talent. Tejas is super talented, he is a director who is very clear as to what he wants. When I told him that I am ready to do the film but that I would want to see the entire script in a week or so, he sat down with his team and ensured that I had a script in my hand. That showed his dedication towards the project. Each character has been etched properly and has a significant role to play.”

“Tejas was never bogged down by my star status. He knew his way, his vision of how the film should be shot was clear. I was just the suitable actor who gave shape to his vision. So we vibed really well,” the actress adds. That they took less than six months to complete it speaks of how well the team worked to finish the project.

Did she, being a senior actor and with more experience in the field, at times put forth her suggestions? “I am a director’s actor. The film is the director’s vision. I go by what is expected of me, but yes, I, along with my co stars would improvise a lot. That brings a lot of naturalness and spontaneity to a scene and helps the film.”

Tell her that the film, on the various booking sites, besides mentioning the director and the production houses, mentions in the cast - Madhuri Dixit. Period. She widens the eyes, laughs out told before exclaiming, “Oh, my god! I have no clue. But let me tell you that film making is a creative process. And it is not dependent only on one actor or a couple of actors. There is a lot of hard work by different departments, who work in sync with each other to bring to the audience a beautiful product. So one Madhuri Dixit alone cannot make or break a film. Of course, a star’s name helps attract footfalls to the theatre, but a lot of other components go into making a film. It’s totally a
team effort.”

Bucket List has a plethora of A-grade artists, who have shone both in Marathi and Hindi films. But clearly it is woman-centric and revolves around Madhuri Dixit. What’s her take on the women-centric scripts when she did films like Anjaam and films of the present times?

“Even though Bollywood has been predominantly male-dominated, off and on we do get to see women-centric films. Earlier they were more of revenge sagas, a woman wronged, and she is out to get revenge from those who persecuted her or her family. But now, with new directors, with young blood, new sensibilities have come in and what we see is woman of today being reflected in the films. So she is an individual who can be a housewife or a professional- a woman in different roles, a realistic woman tackling real problems.” She mention Gulabjaam in which Sonali Kulkarni, as a chef, was brilliant.

Having acted in over 70 films, mastering different genres, has her perspective towards picking up films changed? “As one matures, the perceptions also change. Having said this, I’d say that I always did cinema where the protagonist was not merely a prop or eye candy. Now definitely I look for films where the role is strong, the content is solid. I also am a sucker for cinema where the woman is gentle, and then she comes into her own. Such roles focus on the woman being a powerful person and of course, there is a sparkle in such roles. The sparkle is what adds depth to a character helping to lift the film.”

As we talk about the film, I mention a couple of scenes with her daughter that any mother could instantly relate to, and she laughs and says, “The bond between me and my daughter is very relatable. I had a blast doing it, and whatever interaction I had with her, I wish I could have the same with my sons. With sons, it is different.”

This, then is the right time to ask the hands-on mom about her sons. What do they think of about her celeb status? “When we shifted here and they would see me on TV, they would get all excited, but now if I am on the TV and they happen to be sitting in front of it, it’s just a glance and a ‘Hmmm’ kind of expression from them. At home,
I am a mom. Sometimes the kids call me a cool mom, and when I ask them the reason, they say, ‘Oh! That’s because my friend told me that you have a cool mom.’”

And then she narrates a few anecdotes about her sons, of which one reflects one of the scenes in the film that we talked about. “Arin was going to school and his pant was torn. I told him he cannot go with a torn pocket. A lot of argument ensued but then as a mom I had the last word. After three days, I was wearing distressed jeans and he comes up to asks me ‘how is it that it is all right for you to wear torn jeans and go out, but not okay for me to wear torn pants?’ To that I had no answer.” But she is learning a lot from her sons - about social media, about the lingo - “They are the ones now to tell me ‘Mom, chill!’”

The vivaciousness is evident, but you also realise that there is a lot of ‘thehrav’ in her. The queen hasn’t had it easy all the way. She has also had her shares of struggle and that is what has made the success sweeter.

Ask Madhuri what makes her her, and she ponders a bit before saying, “It’s I think because at some level, my audience connect with me. They identify with me. In me they see a daughter, a sister, a partner, a friend. This, and that I am completely dedicated to acting, having a never-say-die attitude has also helped shape me into what I am today. It wouldn’t have been possible without encouragement from my family - my parents, my in - laws, Ram - a little bit of credit goes to all of them too.”

Coming back to Bucket List, the USP of the film, she says, is “It is very relatable. A lovely light take on life, a slice of life. It’s a beautiful film as it is about a woman, happy in her own space, coming into her own individuality. Life, is not only about sacrifices and pleasing others, it is also being a bit selfish and living it on your own terms. It's about one’s wishes, aspirations and relationships that add a sparkle to life and help strengthen bonds. Every woman will be able to relate to Madhura Sane.”

She is glad that she did this film, for through this Bucket List, she was able to tick off quite a few items off her own bucket list - one of them being driving a bike.
She has touched a million lives and will continue doing so, though at the same time telling her fans that there’s more to life beyond being a star. Madhuri Dixit Nene - indeed a true Diva!  Bucket List also starring Sumeet Raghavan and Renuka Shahane releases May 25.