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Sangeeta Bijlani: Not in touch with anyone in the film industry

May 08, 2014 12:14 IST

Sangeeta Bijlani: Not in touch with anyone in the film industry

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Subhash K Jha

Sangeeta Bijlani talks about her early days in Bollywood, her comeback film with Onir, and everything in-between.

After Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla, another popular 1990s actress is set to return to the big screen.

Sangeeta Bijlani, who traded the greasepaint for wedded bliss 19 years ago, will be seen in Onir's new film titled Shab.

In this interview, the 52-year-old actress talks about her second innings at the movies.

What made you take the plunge again after 19 years?

It wasn't planned.

It isn't as if I wasn't getting any offers. I've been getting movie offers for quite some time now. Somehow, I wasn't sure I wanted to act again. I didn't know whether I'd be comfortable with the idea.

Changes in the film industry made you uncomfortable?

No, I wouldn't say that. This industry is home to me. I virtually grew up here. 

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Image: Sangeeta Bijlani


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'I've always been very comfortable in front of the camera'

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Subhash K Jha

Does the idea of facing the camera again make you uncomfortable now?

Not at all.

I've always been very comfortable in front of the camera.

What prompted you to take up Shab?

I met Onir a year and a half ago at my friend Anita Dongre's fashion show.

He kept asking me why I hadn't returned to movies.

Later he came up with the script of Shab and suggested that I read it. I did and was instantly hooked. 

He wanted me to play a powerful diva in the film with a vulnerable side to her.

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Image: Sangeeta Bijlani
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera/Rediff.com

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'I never did realistic cinema in my career'

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A lot has happened in your life. Does that make you a better actor today?

We grow every day and learn so much from life.

All those experiences are bound to reflect in your personality. I think I'm a more evolved person today. My journey so far has been beautiful.

Why were you so reluctant to come back to the movies?

I am open to new experiences.

Life has taught me to expect the unexpected.

I don't shut doors to anything in life. I read Onir's script and loved it. It was in the realistic space and the role offered to me was very interesting, which appealed to me.

I never did realistic cinema in my career. It was the era of more commercial movies.

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Image: Sangeeta Bijlani
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
Tags: 1

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'Glad to be back at a time when so many genres are being explored'

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Subhash K Jha

You acted in many 1990s hit films with Mithun Chakraborty.

I am not complaining about my acting stint in the past.

It was fun while it lasted. I hope my second innings are interesting too.

Do you feel apprehensive about the comeback?

I am fully prepared to take the plunge again.

I'm glad to be back in Bollywood at a time when so many different genres of films are being made.

When I was playing the conventional heroine back in the 1990s, there was just commercial and offbeat cinema, nothing in between.

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Image: Sangeeta Bijlani
Photographs: Sonil Dedhia/Rediff.com
Tags: Bollywood

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'It's time for me to get back into the groove'

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Subhash K Jha

You made your debut with a brilliant commercial film.

Yes, it was J P Dutta's Hathyar.

But I was just doing what I was asked. To be honest, I wasn't all that involved in the film, neither was I passionate about acting.

I was happy with whatever came my way.

Today, I feel I am far more clued in and emotionally evolved. I think this is the best time to be in the movies.

Is Onir’s film going to be the beginning of many other offers?

It's time for me to get back into the groove.

I am happy to be working again. The industry is so much more organised now.

No one can afford to be lazy. 

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Image: Sangeeta Bijlani
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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'I feel like a newcomer'

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Subhash K Jha

Are you now living in Mumbai?

Mumbai has always been my home. I had briefly moved to New Delhi but have been spending a lot of time in Mumbai since I needed to be close to my dad, my mom passed away in 2005.

Have you been in touch with the film industry specially through Salman Khan’s family?

I haven't been in touch with anybody in the industry. When I started getting offers, I wondered if I'd fit into the new scheme of things.

This must feel like a new start for you.

Yes, I feel like a newcomer.



Image: Sangeeta Bijlani
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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