It’s undoubtedly a busy time for Madhuri Dixit-Nene who has wrapped up the shoot for two of her upcoming films — Kalank and Total Dhamaal and is all charged up as she promotes the latter.
Talking about the film, she says, “There is a load of dhamaal, fun and comedy. I am working with Indra Kumar after so many years, the last film that I did with him was Raja (1995). I am working with Anil Kapoor after Pukar (2000). I am working with Javed Jaffrey after 100 days (1991). With Arshad Warsi, I did Dedh Ishqiya (2014). With Ajay Devgn, I am working after Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (2001). Though I have not worked with Riteish Deshmukh, I know him. Thus, there was a sense of comfort on the sets.”
Commenting on her being paired opposite Anil once again and their onscreen jodi, Madhuri feels it has been wonderful the way he has maintained himself not physically but in the industry as well. “He works with the same energy and passion. I was surprised to see Anil possessing the same energy level. I felt great working with him in this film after Pukar. It was as if the years had just passed by.”
While she is starring with Anil Kapoor in Total Dhamaal, she will be seen with Sanjay Dutt in Kalank. How do these hit jodis manage to look fresh? “I think it depends on how the script is written. How it has been enacted and pictured. When all this comes together, that freshness comes alive. Also, I feel the freshness is in the eyes of the audiences.”
So, how much have things changed when it comes to filmmaking? “Earlier, there was a little indiscipline when it came to making films. A few big production houses like Mukta House, Yash Raj Production House, Rajshri Productions and Rakesh Roshan’s production would work professionally but others wouldn’t. For instance, certain films would be launched and then they will shut down, sometimes shooting schedules would be organised suddenly, we wouldn’t get written dialogues on time, we would be waiting for long hours on the set for our dialogues to be written… but now times have changed and everything is done in a much-disciplined manner. The budget, script, look tests… everything is in place so it becomes easy for the artistes.”
When the comparison is going on between the good-old-days and now, how can the song Mungda be left behind? The classic song from 1997 film Inkaar featuring Helen (sung by Usha Mangeshkar with music by Rajesh Roshan) has been remade for Total Dhamaal. The remix featuring Sonakshi Sinha has been receiving a huge backlash from the audience as well as from the people behind the classic song.
When Madhuri was asked about the controversy, she says, “Well! So, many people do not like remixes, but on the other hand, there is a section of people who really love to hear remixes. So, there are two sides to everything.” She further adds, “Nowadays, remixes are made. Another song Paisa Yeh Paisa has also been remixed but the sweetness that we hear in the original song has not been lost in the remix, which is something I liked. They have added a little about the story along with these hit lines, which shows the attitude of every character in this film, which is all about money. It shows how everyone is out to grab that `50 crore and thus the song is ideal for the film.” When asked if she would have done the chartbuster Mungda, she says, “This song is not for this (mine) character. You will come to know when you watch the movie. I don’t think that I should have done this song. Sonakshi has performed, superbly,” says Madhuri who is widely appreciated for her dancing talent. “I started learning dance from t
he age of three. I learned Kathak. But, when I danced in the films, I realised that the Bollywood dancing style is totally different. While dancing on stage, you have to maintain your eye contact with the audience. Here, you need to keep your eye contact with the cameras. You have to follow certain restrictions as you have to follow marks. Placing of the camera, the shots being taken, director’s take… all of these are important. And, it is when all of these things fall in place that the song and scenes look great. In Tezaab, Sarojji (Saroj Khan) told me to do rehearsals. And, it is after we shot the dance number (Ek Do Teen) that I understood Bollywood dancing. I have learnt so many things on the sets,” says Madhuri who has learned from the masters like Prabhudheva, Chinni Prakash and Jai Barde.
But who in recent times is nailing the art of dancing? “I have seen a few rehearsal videos of Katrina (Kaif), she really works very hard and performs difficult steps with great ease. Sonakshi gives exuberant expressions. Deepika (Padukone) dances gracefully. Alia (Bhatt) will surprise you guys,” she says. When asked if she and Alia are sharing screen space in any dance number in their upcoming movie Kalank? Madhuri smiles and says, “We will talk all this during Kalaank promotions.”
While the actresses these days have been walking miles to hone their craft, many young girls find their icons in Madhubala and Madhuri. Commenting on the same, she explains how she consciously chose to play different roles so that she is not engulfed in one image. “I have tried doing various roles. In Pukar, I played the villian. I continue to follow the same philosophy and by doing different roles one maintains his or her enthusiasm. I have done 78 films till now. Madhubala has done very few films but she is the icon of her times and was a brilliant performer. I feel privileged and honoured when you say — girls like to follow Madhubala and Madhuri.”
And, what’s next? “I am producing a film for Netflix that will release by March end,” says Madhuri who is trying to balance her work and personal life and prefers to do a nine-to-six shift even in the maddening world of cinema. But, she understands the work and its demands and adjusts as per her work commitments. “Yes, I do follow time restriction and prefer doing a nine-to-six schedule. But sometimes owing to certain shooting locations, you cannot always stick to the time and we know that. I am flexible with the time,” she concludes.