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Madhuri Dixit: I don't mind being called the new gay icon

Last updated on: February 20, 2014 18:57 IST

Madhuri Dixit: I don't mind being called the new gay icon

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Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai

'I would love to do a masala film. I am a creature of masala films. My first hit Tezaab was an out and out masala film,' says Madhuri Dixit.

But for now, the actress contends herself with women-oriented movies, like her upcoming film Gulaab Gang.

Looking radiant even after a long day, Madhuri Dixit sips on her tea and gets ready for the final round of interviews for her upcoming film, Gulaab Gang.

Based on the inspiring life of women's rights activist Sampat Pal Devi and her Gulabi Gang, Madhuri does some high-octane action sequences in the film.

The film will see her on screen with former rival Juhi Chawla for the first time ever.

In this interview, Madhuri admits she doesn't have any friends in Bollywood, who she thinks is the best dancer today, and why her kids are looking forward to Gulaab Gang.

You recently performed with Shah Rukh Khan at Temptations Reloaded in Malaysia. How was the experience?

It was wonderful. I really had a great time working with Shah Rukh Khan.

He recently injured his arm but still has so much strength. I don’t know where he gets it.

He is always on fire and goes all out to be the best for his fans. He is very passionate about his work.

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Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'It doesn't matter to me what people's sexual preferences are'

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How do you see the gay relationship hinted at in Dedh Ishqiya?

I think it’s open to interpretation. It could be just two women who are tired of men.

The two women didn’t want to make their lives miserable so they run away and have a life of their own.

I really loved how this situation was treated in the film and not made to look like a caricature.

How do you react to being called the new gay icon?

I don’t mind it. I’ve been brought up to respect every human being. It doesn’t matter to me what people’s sexual preferences are.

How did your husband react after watching you in Dedh Ishiqya?

He loved me in Dedh Ishqiya. He was really proud of me.

After watching Gulaab Gang, he said that he had to be very careful about me (laughs).


Image: Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi in Dedh Ishqiya


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'Fight scenes are very much like dancing'

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Is there a different pleasure when you do a film like Gulaab Gang, which is so far from the usual Bollywood role?

I really enjoyed playing the character of Rajjo in the film. My character believes in women’s empowerment. She believes that women need to be educated and be given the tools to stand on their own two feet and feel independent.

I did a lot of action sequences and for me, fight scenes are very much like dancing. They have a rhythm, a sense of balance, and involve a lot of synchronisation.

We trained in hand-to-hand combat. We actually made the fight sequences believable.

We didn’t use body doubles in the film. Even my co-stars Divya, Priyanka, Tanishhta had no body doubles.


Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'I never thought of Juhi as my competition'

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Your co-star Juhi Chawla says she saw you as a competitor in the 1990s. Did you see her as competition?

No, I never thought of Juhi as my competition or rival. I was more interested in my roles.

There were times when I didn’t even ask who the other person was in the film. Like in Dil Toh Pagal Hai, I wasn’t aware who was going to be the second actress in the film.

I’ve worked with everyone -- Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (Devdas), Preity Zinta (Yeh Raaste Hai Pyaar Ke), Manisha Koirala (Lajja), Karisma Kapoor (Dil Toh Pagal Hai) and recently Huma Qureshi (Dedh Ishqiya).

There’s quite a buzz about you and Juhi Chawla acting together for the first time.

That's very exciting and the curiosity level is really high.

We have some really good scenes and some amazing dialogues.

It is wonderful that we have done a film together finally.

Juhi is a good actress and her presence just elevates the film to a new level. It is inspiring to see another good actress work with you.


Image: Juhi Chawla and Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'I would love to work with Juhi again'

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Juhi mentioned that she envies the way you dance and your screen presence in a film. What do you envy about her?

I don’t envy anything but I really love her voice.

I also enjoy her comic timing.

She is bang on with her comic timing. My favourite film of hers is Hum Hai Rahi Pyar Ke. In a lot of ways, we are quite similar as we are committed to our work.  I would love to work with her again.

What was your reaction when you came to know that Juhi is going to play the antagonist in the film?

At first, I was quite surprised. I had these images of Juhi Chawla laughing and her sweet voice saying some devious dialogues. 

But then I thought that Juhi playing a villain would give it a new twist. It won’t be like an average villain who is present in all the films.

Are you open to playing negative roles?

I am an actor and I am open to various kinds of roles. But I won’t do a negative role just because I want to do it. The script has to be good and the character has to excite me.

I am sure Juhi was excited when she heard the narration of her character in Gulaab Gang.


Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'My kids want to see Gulaab Gang just to see me doing some action'

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How do your kids react when they see you on television?

My kids used to be excited earlier seeing me on television but now it has become a regular thing.

They were excited when they saw me doing some action sequences in the trailer of Gulaab Gang. They want to see the film just to see me doing some action!

They have seen Hum Aapke Hai Koun...!, Devdas and Aaja Nachle and like me in all of them.

Who are your friends in Bollywood?

I don’t have any friends in Bollywood. Everybody is so busy with his or her own work. I am sure other actors must be having friends. 

Back in the 1990s when I was completely into films, I hardly went for any parties. I would feel uncomfortable and completely out of place.

Gulaab Gang and your last two films, Dedh Ishqiya and Aaja Nachle, have strong women characters. Are you open to doing an out an out commercial masala film?

I would love to do a masala film. I am a creature of masala films. My first hit Tezaab was an out and out masala film.

I would also love to do a stupid comedy film.


Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'Salman is a lot more committed towards his work now'

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One of your co-stars, Salman Khan, is doing completely different films from what he did earlier. Do you like his new avatar?

I loved Salman in his earlier films also, like Saajan, Andaz Apna Apna, Hum Apke Hai Koun...!

I see a completely different Salman now. Earlier, he was very mischievous but today he is more relaxed and wants to do good work. I find he is a lot more committed.

When you see him doing a character like Chulbul Pandey there is a different maturity that he brings to it.

I love his dancing too. Earlier, he would just dance but now he has got his own style and a swagger, which is really wonderful.


Image: Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit on the sets of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar

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'Deepika Padukone is a very graceful dancer'

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How is your online dance academy shaping up?

It’s coming along very well. We have more than 88,000 students. We are planning to expand it.

We want to introduce different dance forms. There are some minor problems as everything is on the Internet, but otherwise we have got a very good response.

You are such a great dancer. Who among the current crop of actresses do you think dances really well?

I love Deepika Padukone. I enjoyed watching her dance in Nagada Sang Dhol Baje from Ram-Leela. She is very graceful.

I like Katrina Kaif too. She works really hard.

I also like Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma.


Image: Madhuri Dixit
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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