[Pinkvilla Exclusive] "My kids tell me I praise but dont give good scores" - Madhuri Dixit
At the launch of the fifth season of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa(Dancing with the stars) in Mumbai, the contestants couldn’t take their eyes off her, and the media went berserk at the sight of her…That’s Madhuri Dixit. She, of the famous dazzling smile, she of the deadly dhak dhak moves, she, the celebrated star-actor of films like Tezaab, Dil, Beta, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, Dil Toh Paagal Hai, Mrityudand, she, the muse of the late M F Husain.
Last year, when MD made her TV debut with the dance show, she looked self-conscious, seemed wary of the media and probably a little unsure of the new step she had taken, of venturing into TV, a medium alien to her but a new playground for all kinds of stars – ruling superstars, have-been stars and even fading ones. With her ‘comeback’ film, the YRF-produced Aaja Nachle having failed to live up to expectations, MD had turned her attention to the small screen. The money was lucrative, she was still-in-demand and the medium seemed good enough for a soft re-launch of her career. After all, dancing was more her scene, and the TV viewer, more accepting and approving than the ticket-paying janta. And so she made a sparkling smash hit entry in the Indian version of the internationally renowned Dancing with the Stars, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. The ratings were good enough to make the channel heads smile and for the audience waiting with bated breath, it was worth their while as MD danced, smiled and had loads of fun on the show.
A year later, Mrs. Dixit-Nene, now back in India for good, with her doctor-husband and two sons in tow, looks svelte, super confident and raring to go with her second innings of Jhalak… followed by two films, Dedh Ishqiya, a sequel to Vishal Bhardwaj’s Naseeruddin Shah-Arshad Warsi starrer and Gulab Gang, by debutant director, Soumik Sen.
In between helping her family to settle down in Mumbai and attending film award ceremonies, Madhuri also did her bit of promoting a food channel, an entertainment channel and endorsed everything from long rice grains to detergent powders. That she still continues to have a loyal fan following and can still have her audiences eat out of her dainty hands is evident as every time she creates a frenzy when she takes centre stage. That the makers of her two forthcoming films (presumably) seem to have looked beyond her ‘dancing diva’ image and cast her in ‘fitting’ parts, is also good news for her fans.
Talking to Kshama Rao, she says, “The times are exciting today for any actress to be in the industry. You get bound scripts, some great concepts and organized teams to work with. In our days, it was never the case. Today it’s a different ball game altogether. Viewers have changed and so are their preferences. There seems to be a room for all kinds of films and so you have young filmmakers trying everything. It’s good to be working now. For instance, film Gulab Gang has an interesting story; the treatment is going to be fun. It’s not about women gangsters as everyone seems to be assuming but it’s about a gang of vigilantes who help other women resolve their issues. Dedh Ishqiya too is all about one-upmanship, the characters indulge in. I am looking forward to working with Naseeruddin Shah, my first meaningful film with him and of course, Arshad, who has a great comic timing!”
Like in case of most multi-faceted, multi-tasking women, for her too, balance is the key. “I have been doing it ever since I got married. Earlier I would juggle my films, today I balance my family, my films, my TV show etc. It’s never a problem if you enjoy what you are doing.”
She is looking stunning as always. She has lost weight and the smile has only become more fetching over the years. “I don’t have any bad habits. I lead a healthy lifestyle. I dance regularly.”
Dance is a “lifestyle” for her she says and that’s why she keeps coming back to Jhalak. ..“I love the fact that celebrities from different walks of life take it a challenge to step out of their comfort zones and learn intricate dance forms. You have a ghazal singer like Talat Aziz participating, you have a stand-up comedian, Bharti Singh, an international cricket star, like Sanath Jayasuriya and this season, we have a 15-year-old kid too, and Darsheel Safary who’s promised me he’ll burn the dance floor. That interests me and that’s the reason why I did it last year and am doing it again. I am glad, the makers wanted me again. Yes, the channels are different (earlier it was Sony, now it’s Colors) and so are the teams, but even in films you work with different people and make everything work.”
Madhuri has never worked with her other accomplished co-judge, Karan Johar though she has been on his famous chat show, Koffee with Karan. At the press conference, KJo, as he is popularly called, confessed of being her ardent fan and having a dream to dance with her someday. MD, on her part, says, “Now, we both can have coffee without having me to answer his questions!” She guffaws at her own joke and says, “But it’s good to be with him, he has a thing for dance, as he says, it’s in his DNA, being a Punjabi munda.”
Ask her how her family is coping with Mumbai and India and she says, “Oh, they are doing better than I expected. My husband, especially, loves Indian food and the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach (laughs) and the kids, having started school like it. They are learning the tabla and can’t wait for Jhalak …to start. The only thing they tell me is, ‘Mommy, you praise them so much but you don’t give them good scores!’ So maybe I will change my judging style this time.”