Meet the newest Southern hottie in Bollywood
Malayalam and Telugu actress Madhurima is all set to debut in Bollywood with Priyadarshan's Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal, releasing this week.
A qualified lawyer, Madhurima chose acting over law and her other talent, singing.
To know more about the actress, who has worked in a film filled with talented giants like Paresh Rawal, Om Puri and Nana Patekar, read on.
What made you choose acting over law?
I come from a family of professionals. They wanted me to pursue a qualified profession even if I chose to be a singer or actor later.
I wanted to be a graduate and so I did it. Now, I am an actor as I chose to be.
What is the difference between Malayalam, Telugu and Hindi movies?
Malayalam movies follow a strict schedule. I shoot for 25 days on average. The people in Kerala are very sweet, the food is amazing.
Malayalam heroines get picked by Tamil producers and from there, they go to Telugu cinema. The lucky ones go to Bollywood.
All the big heroines in the south are Malayalis like Trisha and Asin. Telugu is the most glamorous industry after Bollywood. They make stylish films. They spend a lot on the films. There's lots of action and dance.
Tamil films are more realistic. They deal with family and daily life.
Bollywood is making remakes today. They make movies that have already been hits in the South. Bollywood makes family dramas, youthful cinema, comedies and action thrillers. Everything is there. It has a huge market. So it's much bigger than the south.
'A movie might run on the hero's name but the heroine also matters'
It's a male dominated field, so how do you fit in?
That is changing. Madhuri Dixit could carry a movie all by herself. Vidya Balan has done so many heroine-oriented movies. They all did well.
So a movie might run on the hero's name but the heroine also matters. All we have to do is work hard and keep improving. If Kareena can do it, others can too.
For a heroine what is most important: looks, acting skills, dancing skills, being bold?
Everything is important. If you are not beautiful, how will you attract the audience? And only if you can act can you hold the audience's attention. Acting well also attracts directors and producers.
Dancing skills are important because it makes you graceful and also your body language is on display. Songs are important to movies and so dance is equally important.
'Bold' could mean taking on roles that are different, challenging and not tried before. It also means skin show, which depends on the role and the character.
Who is your favourite director?
Priyadarshan. Actually, I always go for a movie because of the hero, never for the director. Maybe after seeing the movie, I will conclude that the director was good or bad. But it's the characters that attract me to a movie, not the director.
'I like Aamir Khan for his acting and the kind of movies he makes'
Who is your favourite hero?
Aamir Khan, for his acting and the kind of movies he makes. A film must have meaning or be an out-and-out entertainer. Aamir does this very well.
Is it intimidating to act with Nana Patekar in Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal?
On the first day, I was very scared. But he is very approachable and kind. He came and introduced himself. He also jokes with a serious face so you don't know when he is joking and when he is not!
When I would go wrong, he would point out gently, 'Nahi beta that is not right, you should do it like this.'
Do you like music?
Yes, I have learnt music. I learnt to sing ghazals from my mother. I have learnt classical dance as well.
What do you do when you are not shooting?
I like to play a song and dance to it. That's my favourite work out. I do all the work in the house. I like to take my mom out. I go out and meet my friends, we eat out.
Every Saturday I go with my mom to have tea. I like to go for long drives with my mom. I like to sit and chat with my brother.
'When I cry, I look very ugly'
Do you practise your lines or do you act impromptu?
I am a natural actor. I see what my co-star is doing and accordingly act or react.
Are you a director's actress or do you like to improvise?
I am a director's actor but sometimes I feel like I can do a particular scene differently. At that time I ask the director if I can do it in that way. Only if he approves do I do it, or else I do it his way.
What was your most memorable scene?
One day I went shooting for a Telugu movie. It was the first day. In Telugu 'ra' means 'come' and 'undi' means 'ji'. I had just walked in and one man there said, 'Randi maru.'
I lost my temper and fired him. Then someone else explained that it means 'Please come'. Even now when I think of it, I feel embarrassed.
Tell me a scene you would be happy to forget.
When I cry, I look very ugly. I would be happy to forget all my crying scenes in movies.
Do you regret any of the movies you have done?
Yes, sometimes I do regret the decisions I have made to act in certain movies. But looking back, I feel that if I had not done them, I would not have reached where I am now.
'I don't come anywhere close to Ileana and Kajal Agarwal down South'
Amongst the newcomers like Ileana and Kajal Agarwal from the South, who is your closest competitor?
They are superstars there. I don't come anywhere close to them in the south. But now I am in Bollywood I have to work hard and not think about the competition.
When Shreya and Asin are not doing well here, how come you decided to enter Bollywood?
I am trying my best. I am working hard. At least I will not feel that I did not give my best.
How far will you go in being 'bold' in Bollywood?
I have a sweet face so people will not give me bold roles. Even if I am offered such roles, I will see the script and see how far it goes before I go ahead with it.
What does your father, who's in the Navy, think of the industry?
He has his inhibitions about the industry as we know nothing about it. He is happy that my mom accompanies me on the sets. She is always with me. In fact, when I rehearse she becomes the audience and tells me if it is good or bad.
Will you go back to being a lawyer later on in life?
Not a lawyer fighting cases in court but I might specialise in patents and intellectual property rights. I have friends doing that.