The REAL side of Madhuri Dixit(An Article by Subhash K Jha)
Came across this interesting article in The Telegraph archives. Thought of sharing with you guys. The article is written by Bollywood's noted journalist Subhash K Jha. The year is 2005
I’m glad Madhuri Dixit retired in time. Beyond Chandramukhi in Devdas there was little that she could offer Bollywood, or vice versa. On May 15, she turned 30-something. Mother of two sons, happily married to Dr Nene, and what-have-you Madhuri always struck me as a little cold around her heart, and distant. You’d understand what I mean only if you’ve met some of the other actresses who came after her, like Aishwarya, Preity, Kareena or Priyanka.
Though they are huge stars today they don’t behave like stars. They are friendly, down-to-earth and extremely vivacious. Madhuri belongs to that generation of stars who believe they have to behave like a star to be recognised as one. Not that I haven’t met warm and truly friendly actresses from her generation. Asha Parekh, who came two generations before Madhuri, is one gloriously affable gal. And from Madhuri’s contemporaries Juhi, Manisha and Reveena certainly don’t behave like stars.
But Madhuri?oh boy! Does she give star vibes! I remember how she made a very major director, perhaps the most major of them all, wait on the sets with the entire cast and crew because the next installment of her fees hadn’t come. “First the money, only then I’ll shoot,” she said with a steely-glint in her eyes. The harassed filmmaker ran from pillar to post to keep the shooting going. The rest of the cast worked without their pay-cheques. Not Madhuri. For her the motto was, “Paisa pheko tamaasha dekho.”
The first time I met her she was shooting for that marathon movie called Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam with Salman Khan in a bungalow. “I wanted to meet you to give you a piece of my mind?You had said some very nasty things about my song Choli ke peechhe kya hai,” she greeted me with a sneer.
Oh, dear?It was rather strange that she wanted to give me a piece of her mind when it was she who had the nation aghast with her suggestive song. Anyway the ice broke (though it never melted) and we chatted. Salman peeped in later, saw me sitting with Madhuri, froze and left. When I was ready to do the same, I realised to my horror that Salman had bolted the door of the makeup room from outside. She grinned in embarrassment and shouted for help. I left.
Many years later I met Madhuri again on the sets of my dear friend Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. She didn’t seem to like my presence...or maybe she just doesn’t like being friendly on the sets. Whatever the reason, she behaved very coldly. When I asked if I could sit on the chair next to her, she smiled in that frozen way of hers and said, “Well, it doesn’t have anyone’s name on it.”
Maybe Madhuri doesn’t like company on the sets. She always kept her distance for sure. And she never allowed over-familiar behaviour.
I respect her for her professionalism. But did she make many friends in Bollywood while she was here? She was always aloof, the star rather than the yaar. As a kalaakar I thought she had a long way to go.
Sure, she gave the hits. But has anyone seen the way she was presented in her most successful films? Barring Bhansali’s Devdas and perhaps Prakash Jha’s Mrityudand all the directors she worked with camouflaged her considerable facial beauty in acres of muck. But the zeroes on the paycheque were just right.
Madhuri was meant to be a diva, not a mannequin. She thought she chose her roles well. But she didn’t. Turning down Bhansali’s Khamoshi: The Musical only because he was a new director was a huge mistake. She made the new director wait for hours on end for days after days. She wouldn’t even open the door of her makeup room to let him say ‘hello’. Finally, she said ‘no’.
Much later I asked her why. “I couldn’t relate to the character of the normal girl with deaf and mute parents,” she confessed. Yeah, right. Much easier to relate to the girl in Indra Kumar’s Dil or the daughter-in-law in Beta.
She also lost Vinod Chopra’s 1942: A Love Story over a monetary issue. Money, I guess, was always an important factor for her. Nothing wrong with that. Except that greatness for an artiste comes from creative flexibility not the bank account. India’s greatest showbiz icon Amitabh Bachchan couldn’t dream of asking for money in Black. And there are so many cameos and voiceovers he has done gratis for friends and friends’ friends.
That’s why a Bachchan will be cherished for years. Dixit isn’t missed in Bollywood. I haven’t come across anyone who says, “I’d have liked to write that one memorable role for Madhuri that would’ve immortalised her”?the way they say about Sridevi. Most believe she left at the right time. Her career couldn’t go beyond Bhansali and Devdas. Certainly not Buddhadeb Dasgupta from Bengal either! No one feels her loss in the film industry. But everyone wishes her well. So do I.
Happy birthday, Madhuri. Hope motherhood brought that one quality which was tragically missing from your personality. Genuine warmth. Not just that cold smiley.