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Rediff.com  » Movies » Exclusive! Madhuri on why she left the US and came home

Exclusive! Madhuri on why she left the US and came home

March 06, 2014 17:04 IST

Madhuri: Why do people like me? What's the connect?

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Savera R Someshwar

'Adulation has never affected me. It has always made me feel good, encouraged me.'

'It just makes me feel greedy. When people praise me, I feel I should do better than what I am doing.'

In the first part of a revealing conversation with Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar, Madhuri Dixit opens up on her life choices, and the movies.

Madhuri Dixit will be 47 in May, but still looks absolutely stunning!

As she speaks to Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar, the legendary actress -- whose new film Gulab Gang releases on Friday -- gives us a rare glimpse into her private world.

Coming back to India was a very difficult decision that you and your family made -- your family was disrupting itself from what was familiar. Looking back at the decision, how do you see it?

People are global citizens today.

They travel from different countries and come here (to India). They work here. They adapt to a new culture.

As far as we were concerned, it is within our culture.

I was born here. I was brought up here. My husband has his roots here.

We just came back to a different family. I have a family in the US and now I have a family here.

There were a lot of reasons why we moved back -- it was for my family, for my mom and dad. They were getting old.

They were staying there (in Denver) with me. Even though they lived in the US for nine years with me, it was an alien land.

They had lived here in India for 75 years of their life... they really wanted to come back.

There were lots of other reasons as well behind why we started thinking about moving back.

When I come here I can do a lot more than I can do there because I have a good infrastructure here.

I could start my online dance academy (Dance With Madhuri) and affect so many lives.

More than 90,000 people have actually enrolled in the academy and I am teaching them to dance.

My husband is working on his healthcare initiative which will touch a million lives.

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Image: Madhuri Dixit
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Twitter

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'My husband's healthcare initiative will touch a million lives'

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Savera R Someshwar

How clued in is Dr Nene to the film industry today and to your work?

He is more clued in to my recent work than to the past.

As far as the industry is concerned, I don't know that he is completely clued in. He is trying to grasp and see how everything works.

He is busier with his own work right now actually.

We have formed a company called R and M Moving Pictures and we are doing something in the digital world. That's how we created Dance With Madhuri, my online dance academy.

Through the digital medium, we are going to do something on healthcare as well.

He is busy doing all that. He doesn't really get the time to talk about or really delve into how films are made.

When you step on the sets today, is it any different than when you stepped on the sets before you left?

It is different in the sense that, when I used to step on the sets then, I never had any thoughts about the house and what's happening there and all that.

But now when I go, I keep wondering what my kids would be doing at that moment -- they must be back from school, they must be doing this, they must have gone for their classes.

I keep calling to talk to them. That's the only difference.

Did you find that you had to re-learn the movie business in any way?

No, not really.

I am so thankful about the changes that have happened. Everything is ready when you reach... what you're going to wear to how you are going to look to where we're going to shoot...

Once you say that the film is going to finish in three months, it does get done in three months.

Sync sound is a big boon because you don't have to go to a studio to dub the whole film again.

A lot of good things have happened and I am really glad that they have. I enjoy work in this kind of an atmosphere.

The only thing that is different today is the promotions. You have to really go all out.

You're promoting your movie and you are talking about it constantly. I think, more than the movie, that gets a little tiring (laughs).

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Image: Madhuri Dixit with husband Dr Sriram Nene.
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Twitter

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'The only time you feel guilty is when your kid is sick'

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Savera R Someshwar

As a working parent, do you have any 'Mom guilt'?

No.

I make as much time for my kids as possible and I always make sure that I am at home on time, so I can be with them.

For whatever reason, if I cannot be home on time, I still do the best I can.

The only time you feel guilty is when your kid is sick and you still have to go to work.

That's when I feel really bad... that I am not at home when my kid is unwell.

One of the reasons behind your decision to come back was that your parents would be more comfortable here.

You recently lost your father. Has it changed your equation with your mother in any way?

My mom and dad were married for 63 years.

To lose a companion is, I think, very difficult for a woman.

She was just 18 when she got married. She learnt everything from my father. They saw the ups and downs of their lives together. And then, after 63 years, that person is no more.

It creates a big impact.

I don't know how to... that is something she will have with her.

Otherwise, of course, she is the same person. She still has a great sense of humour.

We chat a lot. We talk about different things... about the past and how we worked and how things are today and all that...

In that sense, nothing has changed.

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Image: Madhuri Dixit with husband Dr Sriram Nene and sons at The Taj.
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Twitter
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'Adulation has never affected me'

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Savera R Someshwar

In all the love that you receive, has there been any incident that has surprised you?

I have to think if there is something that has surprised me.

(After some time) The fact that people don't know you, they don't know what kind of person you are, they don't know anything about you... it just makes me wonder why they like a particular person onscreen?

Why do they like her more than others? What attracts them? What is the connect? It is still a mystery to me.

Why did they like me in particular? Why do they like a particular photograph?

Say you post a photograph of yours on Facebook. Some photographs get a fantastic response. There are so many likes.

And you are wondering... why did they prefer this photograph to the other one?

Those are things that are a little confusing.

You are surrounded by adulation constantly. How does that...

(laughs) Adulation has never affected me. It has always made me feel good, encouraged me.

It just makes me feel greedy.

When people praise me, I feel I should do better than what I am doing.

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Image: Madhuri with her parents, the late Mr Shankar Dixit and Mrs Snehlata Dixit.
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Twitter
Tags: 1

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'Women's voices are heard, and heard seriously'

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Savera R Someshwar

Women today are breaking the glass ceiling in business. The number of female professionals in the movie industry has increased as have the number of films centring their plot around women. Women in India are protesting against gender crimes and injustice.

Right is always right and wrong is always wrong.

And the protests have always been there. It is just that there are more people ready to listen today.

Women are in positions where they can speak from and people will listen. Their voices are heard, and heard seriously.

It is wonderful. It should go on.

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Image: Madhuri Dixit
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Facebook
Tags: India

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'When women speak from a position of power, people listen'

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Savera R Someshwar

Do you believe this is something to do with the fact that women are stronger today or they are more aware of what they can do or their rights?

I think they are more educated about their rights.

When a woman speaks from a weaker position, people are not ready to hear what she has to say. But when she speaks from a position of power, people listen to her.

This is happening all over the world. Women are taking steps to help other women. They are striving to get her the independence that she needs.

Today's woman can earn her own money. She can stand on her feet.

Everyone knows of the tragedies that happened in Delhi and Mumbai. These tragedies bought everyone's emotions to the fore.

Women see and feel the need for a change today.

In Gulaab Gang, you play the role of an emancipator, a woman who takes on people who harass women. You have this kind of a character -- a strong woman -- in some of your earlier films as well. Does this reflect a part of who you are as a person?

Yes, absolutely. I believe in the rights of women.

I believe that she should be respected in society.

I believe in equality... gender equality.

That's why these kind of roles attract me; they reflect my own beliefs.

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Image: Madhuri Dixit in Gulaab Gang


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'People don't know the games of politics'

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Savera R Someshwar

If you were asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the character you play in Gulaab Gang, what would you say?

She is very strong. She won't hesitate to lift the lathi if she needs it to make her point.

When nothing else works, she says, 'Rod is God'.

Sometimes, you have to resort to a little bit of violence to make people listen to what you have to say or get back your rights.

But in the end, she also feels how far can you actually physically fight (for her rights)?

You want your voice to be heard without resorting to the lathi.

She stands for elections, but that becomes her weakness because she is not prepared for the kind of dirty politics that is happening around her.

In that sense, though she is aware of her own rights, she is not aware of the dirty games that people can play. So that becomes her weakness.

It sounds like there is a bit of a parallel with the political scenario today.

I don't know if there is any parallel, but I would say that it is something that happens everywhere in the world with people.

They don't know the games of politics.


Image: Madhuri Dixit
Photographs: Madhuri Dixit/ Facebook

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