BLAST FROM THE PAST
STARDUST AUGUST 1988
With seven flops behind her, any other heroine would have fizzled out like last night’s champagne, but not Ms Dixit – Madhuri has somehow managed to keep in the news. In this Court Martial, Madhuri Dixit handles our questions cleverly as she handles her men.
For someone who has been in this industry for barely four years, you have acquired the dubious distinction of having the maximum number of Godfathers. While Subhash Ghai plainly admits that he is your mentor, others like Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Dutt have been secretly recommending you to various producers. Don’t you think such a game is very dangerous for the sake of a role?
If people want to recommend me, why would I object? I see no harm in it. Someone even asked me how come Vinod Khanna was recommending me. I don’t believe in ‘pleasing’ anyone for a role. It sounds preposterous! And come on, producers aren’t fools! They won’t accept me blindly because a hero promoted me. Recommendations alone are of no use. It’s not so easy. One has also to prove oneself as a good actress, only then can she get a role. And I believe that even though some of my films were acquired through recommendations, I think my work has also been appreciated!
You claim that producers have taken you on the basis of your work. But every film of yours till date has flopped miserably. In fact, Shekhar Suman said that you are the only heroine who has signed so many films without a single hit. How do you account for that?
I understand. All my previous films were flops. But then I was new, and because I was anxious to get started, I made some foolish choices. For instance, I accepted films where I was offered only a tiny part, only because they belonged to big banners –like Prasad Banerjee’s Swati and Sohanlal’s Awara Baap and Abodh. Naturally these films just went by without anyone noticing me. Again, after that I started signing some good films without realising that they were all ‘routine’ roles. By ‘routine’, I mean the usual masala Hindi films with a lot of action and melodrama and of course, most of them were hero-oriented. So I never had the scope to really perform. However it’s become imperative for me to have a hit release. Success, it seems in industry parlance, means having a solo hit. Never mind how good an actress she is but until she gets that, she’s a nobody. So now, I’m quite anxious because some of my films are slated to release. These next few months are going to be crucial for my career.
Govinda could never forgive you for walking out of T Rama Rao’s Sada Suhagan because you did not want to be paired with him at that time, when he was going through a lean period. Today, he is at the top and now, he flatly refuses to work with you. True?
Gawd! I’m absolutely fed up of giving explanations about this controversy. But I’ll do it again. I had signed this film (Sada Suhagan) along with Swati and Awara Baap. Simultaneously, I was also being signed for heroine roles. Like for Uttar Dakshin. And then big producers like Boney Kapoor also began to approach me. So I went and spoke to T Rama Rao and explained that I did not want to act in a small role, when I was getting female leads. I did this for my career and not because I had anything against Govinda. In fact he was still quite a hit after Ilzaam and one wouldn’t shy away from working with him. So I don’t know why I’m not being paired opposite him. Hopefully, some time in future I might be paired with him.
Like all star-mamas, your mother too is pushy, dominating and ambitious. Not only that, she even makes it a point to sit through your interviews to the press…
(Cuts in) My mother is not the pushy kind. Of course she wants the best for her children. But she definitely won’t push me into anything I don’t want. She’s just there by my side when I need her. The reason why we are always together is because ours is a typical tightly-knit family. When I’m not shooting, my mother’s at home, playing housewife. But otherwise she always comes with me. That’s why you see her on the sets when I’m shooting, and now I’m home, so she too is here. I have been attached to her ever since I was a baby and I feel comfortable with her around. That’s why we’re seen together so often.
It seems that Rupa, your older sister is a much better looking than you are, and it should have been her and not you who should have been in films. Your comment.
I am proud that someone thinks my sister is better looking than me. But then, I believe a lot in destiny. See she’s an architect and she’s good at her work. I’m an actress… so, I believe I was destined to be one and she was destined to be an architect. And anyway, looks are not the sole criteria to become an actress. There are so many pretty girls around but not all of them are successful. I think you go by the path predecided for you.
Your so-called affair with Anil Kapoor was hogwash. Why don’t you admit once and for all that it was just one big publicity stunt?
I was not the one who made it a publicity stunt. It was other people.
How could you wear such a revealing outfit for a song sequence in Tezaab, and gyrate vulgarly in front of a 200-strong audience?
People attach a naïve and innocent image with me because of the character I played in Abodh. But, in Tezaab, my role is in contrast with that. I play a modern liberated girl… a pop singer to be precise. So, I had to sing and perform in front of an audience and do all those things you mentioned. But it doesn’t mean I’m like that in real life. I am still a shy and demure girl. I haven’t changed. As for my dress sense, I know it’s bad. People have been telling me about it. All I can say is that I have a lot of learning to do as yet.
Madhuri Dixit’s career zoomed after 1988. Dil, Saajan and Khalnayak became important turning points in her career and placed her in the top rung of actresses. She was paired with the hottest men from Salman Khan to Shah Rukh Khan. Hum Aapke Hai Koun..! and Dil To Pagal Hai came at the peak of her career after which she was whisked away by Dr Shriram Madhav Nene in 1999. She came back in 2002 with Devdas and won a lot of hearts again with her stunning and restrained performance. She took off on a break again to have her babies, Arin and Rayan, and returned in 2007 with Aaja Nachle. The film tanked! Next: she returned from the backdoor as the judge of the TV reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa and continues to judge it even now although it’s been three years now. She appeared in an item song with Ranbir Kapoor in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. She now has Dedh Ishqiya and Gulab Gang lined up for release in the next few months.